Advancing sustainable crop protection thanks to smart farming tools

Fran Garcia is an associate professor at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), in the Agriculture Mechanisation Unit. Together with his colleague Emilio Gil, they lead and coordinate the Work Package 3 of NOVATERRA whose aim is to progress on the application of smart farming tools for sustainable crop protection. In an interview, Fran Garcia updates us on the progress being made in the development of new technologies for reducing the use of plant protection products (PPPs) in olive groves and vineyards. Major achievements within WP3 include (1) the development of an image-based early detection system for peacock spot and powdery mildew in olive trees and vineyards respectively and; (2) the canopy characterisation using satellite and ground-based imaging sensors which will allow a more rational determination of the pesticide dose based on canopy characteristics. These innovative tools are currently being tested in commercial olive groves and vineyards.