Precision Fruticulture research between scientific excellence and impact

ICT-AGRI echoes in nature journal article:

A recent article in the scientific journal nature deserves attention:  In the outlook on “Technology: The Future of Agriculture” the Precision Fruticulture approach pursued by ATB is acknowledged and described. Also the development of mobile Apps is pointed out as future trend for food security.

Precision Fruticulture is an innovative approach following the concept of precision agriculture: It implements ICT for resource efficient and sustainable production of high quality fruit (and vegetable). Precision Fruticulture deals with the spatial and temporal variability in orchards and targets at site- or tree-adapted orchard management. It works with automated collection of plant, fruit and soil data in situ with sensors linked in wireless networks.

ERA-Net ICT-AGRI has essentially contributed to boost progress in Precision Fruticulture through the funding of three research and development projects:

  • 3D Mosaic - Advanced Monitoring of Tree Crops for Optimized Management - 
    How to Cope With Variability in Soil and Plant Properties? 2011-2013
  • USER-PA - USability of environmentally sound and Reliable techniques in Precision Agriculture, 2013-2015 
  •  FI-ORAMA - Future Internet - Orchards Automated Management, 2014-2016

One of the important research partners behind the projects is the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB) at Potsdam, Germany. Senior researcher Manuela Zude leads the group for Precision Fruticulture research at ATB. A special focus of the ICT-AGRI projects was the development of sensor-based in-situ assessment of fruit quality using optical multi-spectral analysis and its application.

ICT-AGRI projects have received considerable attention since outcomes range from numerous excellent scientific publications to the implementation of the results into practical farming within EIP-projects PRIMEFRUIT and AquaC+ (Operational Groups implementing the European Agricultural Partnership – EIP – on regional level with a multi-actor approach). Moreover, findings based on the ICT-AGRI research projects were made available as Apps to Android smartphone users available in the google play store as FIORAMA in-situ Fruchtanalyse and Cherry Harvest Size.

The high level attention for the research funded within the Era-Net ICT-AGRI reflects both excellence and relevance of the subject.