Apofruit: streamlining the irrigation brings results

Aprofruit Italia, in its plant in Aprilia, presented to FreshPlaza the results related to a trial on irrigation systems, aimed to streamline the use of water. A trial that, in the last 8 years, involved several farmers specialized in kiwi production, members of Apofruit Aprilia.

“Everything started between 2006 and 2007 – as Fabio Marocchi, technical office responsible, explains – when we decided to do a test to streamline irrigation systems. The initial interest was related to the need to move up yellow kiwi harvest for economic reason”. “Then we began analyzing the different kind of existing irrigation control systems on the market. After various researches, in collaboration with agronomist and farm holders, we decided for tensiometers in millibar that can measure how many water is in a specific point of the soil”.

With this kind of instrument, every farmer can easily read the data from the tensiometer.

With the PSA virus (Pseudonomas syringae pv. Actinidia) outbreaks in the orchards, emerged the need to manage water-volumes also to enhance indirect plant protection. A correct irrigation modulation allows to obtain stronger branches for the pruning phase, guarantee a better plant resistance to “micro-injury” due to winter frosts, that represent a way for the virus to enter the kiwi plant.

Worried about PSA, farmers have shown greater attention towards control systems of water-volume, using more and more tensiometers in their business plant.

“Using these instruments to water-volumes control – underline Marco Mastroleo of technical office – permits a reduction of annual water consumption, beyond a streamlining of the entire production process, with direct effect on the fruit sizing, dry matter content and conservability”.  This savings on water also imply a saving in energy for water abstraction.

Nowadays around 50 members firm of Apofruit Aprilia used this instrument to control the irrigation, covering about 240 hectare in total. The results are positive: correct irrigation brings economic savings, improve fruit quality, while strengthen the plant towards batteriosi.

Thanks to this work we passed from a method base on personal experience of each farmer (that should be considered in any case) to a more scientific method that can give water according to the real plant needs.

“Compared to kiwi orchard investment, tensiometer cost is very small and amortizing during time. So we strongly suggest to use this control instrument, also considering the production advantages”.

SOURCE: FreshPlaza