On Monday, January 15th 2018, Thrakika Ekkokkistiria S.A. organized a Workshop on the application of the gaiasense smart farming system in cotton fields at the area of Komotini. Among the participants of the Workshops were, among others, NEUROPUBLIC‘s President Dr. Fotis Chatzipapadopoulos, NEUROPUBLIC’s Smart Farming Project Manager Mr. Kostas Michos, the Scientific Associates of the project Mr. Aggelos Patakas (Professor, University of Patras) and Mr. Thomas Thomidis (Assoc. Professor, Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki) as well as a high number of producers.
During the Workshop, the results of the first year of the application of the gaiasense smart farming services were presented, referring to the cultivation period 2017/2018 and including an area of 550 hectares at Rodopi. The presentations focused mostly on the irrigation and secondly on the plant protection of the cotton cultivation, as more measurable outcomes regarding the fertilization and plant protection will result during the application of the services in 2018.
More specifically, Prof. A. Patakas referred to the significant benefits of the application of the smart farming system both in the saving irrigation water and in the optimization of the use fertilizers. Both lead to significant reduction of production costs and improve the competitiveness of the product, therefore having a financial benefit for the producers. In his presentation, Dr. Th. Thomidis referred to the need for rationalizing plant protection activities, for reducing both the production costs and the environmental impact.
The Workshop highlighted the role of data in the decision support process of farmers, which lead not only to the improvement of the production but also to the reduction of the production costs. Mr. Kouroudis, Director of Thrakika Ekkokistiria, mentioned that the adoption of smart farming in the cotton cultivation is mandatory for maintaining and improving competitiveness.
The producers exhibited increased interest in participating in the smart farming project, which will continue more extensively in the next cultivation season 2018/19, starting with parcels that apply drip irrigation. According to Dr. Fotis Chatzipapadopoulos, in the case of cotton there is still a huge margin for saving inputs such as irrigation water and fertilizers, as well as for further improvement of the quality of the product.