The need for a sustainable water use in agriculture has impelled the scientific community and INTEROLIVA to develop new methods for monitoring water stress. The three plant-based methods allow for non-destructive, automatic and continuous data recording and are easily implemented with data transmission systems for a nearly real time access to the collected records from a remote computer. The cost of implementing these methods is reduced to acceptable limits by using remote imagery, which reduces the number of plants to be instrumented. It also allows for precision irrigation even in large orchards with high water stress variability. Some of the water stress indices that can be derived from any of the three testing methods are easy to obtain and use, and new applications are being developed to decrease the complexity of data processing and interpretation. Interoliva has installed a variety of equipment to collect and to interpret the data. This technology provides us with online access to easy-to-interpret summaries, both of the collected information and derived indices, at an affordable cost. We have also implemented weather forecast models that improve irrigation management under weather changing conditions. If combined with these new approaches, the plant-based methods evaluated in Sanabria’s farm will become useful tools for monitoring water stress and scheduling irrigation in commercial orchards.
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