EFFIDRIP: Enabling next generation commercial service-oriented, automatic irrigation management systems for high efficient use of water, fertilizers and energy in drip irrigated tree crops.

Decisions on irrigation in farm management are not made for purely agricultural reasons anymore. In recent years, the cost of irrigating has been rising caused by the price increase of energy and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, the EU Water Framework Directive urges a new model phasing out water subsidies for agriculture and implementing the principle of full cost recovery, pricing water to reflect its full resource and environmental cost, which places the cost of water at a multiple of the currently charged cost.

Drip irrigation is the most widespread technology for irrigating and fertigating fruit tree crops because of its high efficiency. However, the benefits of drip irrigation are often lost due to inadequate management practices leading to excessive use of input water, fertilizers and, indirectly, energy. EFFIDRIP aims at removing the technical obstacles that prevent next-generation service-oriented irrigation/fertigation management systems getting to market.

By providing the keys for automating the field data acquisition, decision making and control processes efficiently, equipment manufacturers and service providers will be able to rapidly develop and commercialize EFFIDRIP: a new tool that will permit fruit farmers and agro SMEs to increase water, fertilizer and energy use efficiency up to 15%, representing a significant reduction of production costs; will relieve them of routine tasks required for efficient irrigation practices, thus gaining time for higher-value management tasks; and will facilitate the adoption of more sustainable practices. Given the increasing importance of sustainability in agriculture and the business opportunity to modernize within the context of the generational shift towards more industrial production models, both European agricultural and irrigation sector, as well as our environment, would benefit from the EFFIDRIP precision irrigation system.