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Large-scale precision agriculture – the novel FATIMA concept for upscaling variable rate application to large areas

Anna Osann

(Submission #348)


Anna Osann (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha and AgriSat Iberia, s.l.) and 21 partners of the FATIMA consortium

Fine-tuning fertilization and irrigation management according to the space-time variability of crop nutrient and water requirements is at the heart of precision agriculture. Traditionally, precision agriculture has focused on the intra-parcel variability, diagnosed by in-field sensors or mapping machinery or drones. However, Earth observation (EO) satellites have become a reliable source of high-quality data that allow to generate maps of water and nutrient requirements at a range of spatial and temporal scales of relevance for variable rate technology (VRT). This opens the way for upscaling VRT to large areas.

The project FATIMA (FArming Tools for external nutrient Inputs and water MAnagement), co-funded by the European Union under H2020, has developed and demonstrated a range of tools and services for this purpose. A flagship example for variable rate (VR) irrigation scheduling are weekly maps of predicted crop water requirements (1-week ahead). A flagship example for VR fertilization scheduling are predicted nutrient requirements (1-season-ahead), providing input application prescription maps at pre-plant with nowcast updates at critical phenological stages. All information is being integrated in leading-edge participatory spatial online decision-support systems (web-based and mobile app) and from there feeding seamlessly into the intelligence of a VR spreader.

The innovative FATIMA service concept considers the economic, environmental, technical, social, and political dimensions in an integrated way and always in close collaboration with farmers. It has been demonstrated and implemented operationally in seven pilot areas representative of key European intensive crop production systems in Spain, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Austria, France, Turkey.

FATIMA tools and services help farmers to adjust fertilization according to variable nutrient requirements across each field. Consequently, they can avoid over-fertilization in zones of reduced requirements and thus, avoid nitrogen losses to soil, water, and air and reduce environmental impact of agriculture. They also can serve as policy instruments to enable and monitor environmental compliance over large areas.


Topic Area:  [1.11] Agriculture - forestry - aquaculture
Abstract Type:  Oral Presentation

Additional Fields

Academic:   Yes
Data Provider:   Yes
Data User:   Yes
INSPIRE Implementer (IT):   Yes
INSPIRE newbies:   Yes
Policy Officers:   Yes
Public Administration (MS/Regional/Local):   Yes
Thematic specialists:   Yes
Other_theme:   farm sector actors
Comments:   sustainable agriculture, environmental compliance, precision agriculture, variable rate, Earth observation, webGIS, farm advisory, crop water and nutrient requirements, nitrogen balance, irrigation and fertilization scheduling

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