Agricontrol participates in the EXPO-AGRI research project (Joint Projects 2015) in collaboration with CeRSAA (Centre of Experimentation and Technical Assistance – special agency of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Handicraft and Agriculture of Savona) and the Department of Computer Science of the University of Verona.
In Agriculture, several plant pathogens, e.g., bacteria and fungi, can cause serious damages to crops, consumers and economy. Recently, CeRSAA, agronomic research center of Camera di Commercio di Savona, investigated, as first, Peronospora belbahrii on sweet basil in Italy. Even if sweet basil is a minor crop, its importance for “Made in Italy” recipes is pivotal. Greenhouses increase productivity and allow to control ambient conditions. For decades Agricontrol has focused on the design and implementation of greenhouse systems with sensors of main physical aspects (e.g., light, wind, rain, temperature, humidity) to regulate heating, lighting, fertilization, irrigation, and openings.
STATE OF THE ART
Traditional greenhouse control systems react to threshold crossing events on each monitored parameter but they do not consider the global relationship between all these parameters and crop behaviour. We need a greenhouse control system which directly maximizes crop yield and minimizes infection based on real time data acquired though the sensor network. The binomia “Basil-Peronospora” can be further investigated by using novel sensors for contactless measurement of leaf temperature. The use of sensors in the study of plant pathogens requires a great flexibility in their positioning. Therefore, the current Agricontrol’s architecture will be extended with wireless devices compliant to well-known industrial standards like ZigBee.
The project, spanning over 2 years, aims at improving knowledge, methodologies, and technology for greenhouse control to increase productivity and reduce plant pathogens. The research has the following objectives:
1. development of a ZigBee wireless sensor for contactless measurement of leaf temperature;
2. further investigation of the binomia “Basil-Peronospora” through fine-grain sensor monitoring;
3. creation of a mathematical model linking physical environmental parameters, plant grow, and disease development;
4. creation of a prediction model of plant grow and disease development as a function of physical environmental parameters and weather forecast;
5. creation of a monitoring and control system fostering plant grow and reducing disease development with application to the binomia “Basil-Peronospora”;
6. wireless extension of the current control architecture with compliance to industrial standards like ZigBee.
The project is going to provide new knowledge on the binomia “Basil-Peronospora” and a novel type of greenhouse automation system to optimize crop yield and to limit disease development. Project results will have a positive impact on economy, food availability and quality since the improved control of disease development will reduce chemical treatments.
Project partially funded by University of Verona under Joint Projects 2015 program.