Ecology and Innovation is the binomial that defines Cortijo el Puerto since its inception.
On December 10, EnRed (In-Network), the leading program of Canal Sur Andalucía (TV Channel) issued a report on the almond / technology relationship and the innovative and sustainable uses of the by-products of this crop. In it we had the opportunity to participate.
Agriculture 4.0 (also known as smart agro or smart farming) is a concept that will soon sound familiar to us. It advances what will be the food production of a very near future, where digital information, big data, geolocation, telecommunications and robotics will be integrated. This allows centralising, analysing and managing information through the internet and making smart and precise decisions.
It is framed in what is already called Industry 4.0, which implies a new level of organization and control with three main elements: the internet of things, physical cyber systems and cloud computing. All these elements facilitate the monitoring of data/processes from the initial moment of planting and cultivation until the delivery of the product and even its final recycling, including connectivity and access and digital information 24 / 365.
Image source: Forbes
The report starts with Cortijo el Puerto that illustrates the field phase. A 100% organic production farm where top technology is also integrated:
– GPS plantation: hedgerow system technology (lines) with a maximum error of 2 cm of location.
– More than 30 sensors that take care of the precise use of water, promoting efficiency, analysis data (soil moisture, conductivity and temperature at different depths) and the saving of this fundamental resource. This data together with those obtained from the weather station allow logical and efficient use of water.
– Use of information and communication technologies: each member of the team uses ICT regularly, uploading information from their tillage to the field notebook, (agricultural APP) helping to a systematic and precise work, monitoring and management.
– Agricultural machinery with sensors and built-in tracking devices: allow us to know its location, monitor daily tasks, collect fuel expense data, and increasing traceability.
– Sensors in crops (e.g. trunk diameter sensors allowing to observe the evolution of its growth).
– Use of drones: As drones become an integral part of smart (or ‘precision’) farming, they help us dealing with a wide range of challenges and reap a great number of benefits: Estimating soil condition
Fighting infections and pests, Crop surveillance , Livestock monitoring, etc. Smart farming is data-driven, enabling us to take action based on accurate information on soil conditions.
To observe the state of crops, drones inspect the field with infrared cameras and determine light absorption rates. Based on accurate, real-time info, by using drones for agriculture mapping, we also stay updated on the health of plants in a particular area and indicate which field areas require attention.
In livestock farming, drones can keep an eye on the sheeps as they graze on pastures. Using thermal sensor technology, drones can find lost livestock, detect injured or sick animals, and calculate their exact numbers. From the air, they help with the livestostock surveillance job to our herding dogs.
Drone technology is used in combination with geological and biological knowledge using plants as bioindicators of various soil pathologies (daisies abound in nitrogen-poor wet soils with a fertiliser defect, which we solve by applying varying amounts of phosphoric rock to enhance development of legumes and fix atmospheric nitrogen. If nettles predominate, soils have excess of steaming, we reduce the presence of livestock and plant grasses to consume excess fertiliser etc.)
Ecology & Innovation?
For us, technology is an ally. We are a 100% organic production farm and very focused on biodiversity promotion aspect. Innovation and mechanization is not at odds with sustainability, on the contrary it can be a way of monitoring and improve it in a scientific and systematic way.
Organic, Biodynamic, Quality and Innovation certified, Cortijo e Puerto has taken not the easy path, but the one able to answer the great challenges that the agricultural sector is already facing: scarcer rainfall, more degraded soils due to abuse and neglect and a demand for higher quality food as well as long-term sustainability. understanding soils and ecosystem interactions, producing food in a healthier way and with higher quality. Ecology and Innovation build sinergies for the biodynamic almond certification. A world first that obeys principles of sustainability and regeneration of nature as well as a background of innovation and cutting-edge technology in production, in service of the environment.
Cortijo el Puerto was already a pioneer in the adaptation and organic certification of almond in hedgerow system (2018) with the use of dwarfing patterns, achieving a reduction of pruning work, mechanized harvesting, and cultivating varieties resulting from research.
We are especially happy and grateful to the great “EnRed” (In Network) team for having invited us to participate in their report. The TV programme, weekly broadcast addresses its topic through interviews and reports that show how technological development is transforming the Andalusian community. We invite you to have a look at the video and to know our project.