An innovative irrigation scheduling tool for olive crops

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An innovative irrigation scheduling tool for olive crops



A Greek research institute active in agricultural research has developed a software for irrigation scheduling of olive crops to be used by farmers. The software uses climatic data, soil characteristics, crop data, water availability and quality and calculates the water requirements of the olives. Farmer associations, agricultural consultants and cooperatives are sought for commercial agreement with technical assistance.

The lack of advisory services for irrigation scheduling leads the farmers to irrigate empirically. They usually tend to "play safe", increasing irrigation water amount, especially when water price is low. As a result, about 20% of water provided is lost, while at the same time tensions and conflicts with other sectors (urban, tourism) arise. In cases of areas where water is running short this also poses an extra problem.

The software developed by the Greek research institute takes into consideration climatic data, soil  characteristics, stage of growth of the crop, availability and quality of irrigation water and the irrigation method for the calculation of water requirements of olive trees.

The software has the ability to use the solar radiation method for the calculation of the Daily Evapotranspiration (ETc) of the olive trees.

Basic element of the software is the set of data bases in which all data required are stored.  These are :

a) Databases for meteorological data,

b) Databases concerning farmers, and

c) Databases for the olive orchard of the farmer.

The irrigation requirements are then calculated as the difference between crop evapotranspiration and the effective rainfall, while the irrigation dose is determined according to the soil type of the orchard.

In cases of limited water availability (dry periods) the requirements are calculated only for the critical growth stages (application of deficit irrigation). The data are stored in a database, so that upon request the system combines all the relative information in order to calculate the optimal irrigation dose.

The software has been validated for two irrigation periods (May-September 2007 and 2008) in the Region of Crete at field level in order to calibrate and fine tune the irrigation doses by the system and have found them sufficient for optimal crop growth.

Rational irrigation and improvement of the efficiency of irrigation water usage. The tool is based on real time climatic data, soil and water characteristics, crop growth stage,  availability of water and the irrigation system. <?? od??/?rvation planningreserve selectionirreplaceabilitybioeconomicsprotected areasfisheries managementselection algorithmsbioeconomic modelconservationbiodiversitynetworksirreplaceabilitypersistenceprinciples2005Sep1420-2026ISI:000234144300005<Go to ISI>://000234144300005DOI 10.1007/s10666-005-9001-yEnglish(2005), we chose a solution for each scenario that made a reasonable trade-off between boundary length and cost. Marxan uses a simulated annealing algorithm to select areas.  By repeatedly using simulated annealing, many different solutions are produced. Our study shows that it is possible to develop cost-effective systematic advice about the location of marine reserves with limited social, economic and ecological data.  Our analysis has uncovered deficiencies in the reserve systems suggested as part of the Natura 2000 process and by the local fishers.


Markets Addressed


Agriculture, Olive crops irrigation


Stage of development

Development Phase

Comments: None

Intelectual Property status

Pantent(s) applied for but not yet granted

Comments: None