Quality agriculture, an appointment in Bastia Umbra
The agriculture of central Italy is the main character of Agriumbria, the exhibition that from 1968 puts on display the best of the primary sector in terms of production and technology. On display are machinery, cattle and food products of excellence. On schedule are the conference organized by the Osservatorio Agriumbria on quality meat consumption, the presentation of EIMA Show Umbria, and the proclamation of the winners of the Antonio Ricci Award
An overall exhibiting area of 50,000 square meters, 420 participants and 75,000 visitors expected: these are the figures of the 49th edition of Agriumbria, the exhibition dedicated to agriculture, livestock and food scheduled in Bastia Umbra (Perugia) from March 31 to April 2, 2017. At the UmbriaFiere Exhibition Centre, an exhaustive overview of the agricultural supply chains with machinery and equipment, devices and services for various productive processes, and a wide exposition of final products, show the high quality of the Italian agri food sector. In terms of mechanics and agriculture, are hosted parent companies of the major brands of the sector with the most recent products for any type of processing in the sign of an agriculture that is increasingly innovative, efficient and ecofriendly. Livestock represents as always an important part of the exhibition, with over 600 cattle of all the Italian beef-producing breeds. To meat consumption in Italy, Agriumbria dedicates an Observatory presented at the opening of the exhibition, “thought in such a way that our trade fair – according to the words by the president of UmbriaFiere, Lazzaro Bogliari – has quality meat as its core business, a sector increased against the general downtrend of meat consumption.” In this context, many initiatives have been scheduled. Beef breeders Anabic in collaboration with Associazione Regionale Allevatori (Regional Breeders Association) has organized an event dedicated to the Chianina, Romagnola, Marchigiana, Maremmana and Podolica breeds; the National Exhibition of the Appennine ovine breed, included in the Assonapa (Herding Italian Association) Herd Book, and the trade fair of Italian rabbit breeds included in Anci (Italian Association of Rabbit Breeders). Equally numerous are the initiatives promoted in Bastia by the sector’s associations. Coldiretti Umbria proposes the Villaggio Campagna Amica, an authentic market where producer members of the confederation put on display the best of the agri food production of this area with cheese, wines, bakery products, plants and flowers. Confagricoltura Umbria organizes two meetings, both hosted in the Europa Assoprol Hall. The first meeting is scheduled on March 31 and is organized in collaboration with Umbria Olive Oil Producers Association (Aufo), on the main pathogenic agents of olive trees and the consequences that an uncontrolled fight against them can cause to final products’ quality and healthiness. The second one is scheduled on April 1st and presents the cooperation projects carried out by Umbria within the RDP concerning precision agriculture and weather forecast. On the same day is also scheduled an in-depth meeting organized by the Umbria Association of Outsourcers, a member association of Uncai. During the exhibition will be presented the 2017 edition of EIMA Show, the demonstration days on agricultural mechanization that FederUnacoma has been promoting since 1992 in several parts of Italy, and that this year will be held in Umbria. Organized by the Federation jointly with Coldiretti Umbria, UmbriaFiere, University of Perugia and with two other institutes linked to the Federation itself – Fondazione per l’Istruzione Agraria (Agricultural Education Foundation) and Centro per lo sviluppo agricolo e rurale (Centre for agricultural and rural development), field tests are scheduled on July 28 and 29 and are dedicated to machinery and equipment for precision agriculture. The official conference for the launch of EIMA Show Umbria (hosted in the Casalina farm of Deruta) is scheduled on Friday, March 31 at 3 pm, in the Convention Center (Hall A) Agriumbria, with the participation of the presidents of various promoters and the Agricultural Councillor of the Umbria Region, Fernanda Cecchini. As already announced in the previous months, during the inauguration of the Trade Fair will be awarded the winners of the Prize promoted by the Umbrian trade fair body in collaboration with the University of Perugia and Edagricole publisher in commemoration of the journalist Antonio Ricci, who passed away last year.
Precision technologies for specialized
by Alessio Bolognesi
EIMA Show exhibition of machinery and technologies, that will be held in Umbria at the end of July is a particularly interesting opportunity to see the most advanced information and electronic systems applied not to extensive crops, but rather to specialized crops that are typical of Umbria's hilly landscape. In fact, precision farming is now a common definition, even though often referred to extensive crops, such as the large fields of Northern Europe or America. The reasons for this are purely historical and economic: at the beginning, the costs of these devices, typical of precision agriculture, were so high that they could be only justified when applied to high-power tractors and expensive tools. But it is a fact that technology (as also confirmed by the spreading of smartphones) can be developed and spread only through the reduction of costs and size of equipment. Therefore, the devices that once seemed impossible to apply on agricultural machinery intended to be used for intensive and specialized crops, are now becoming reality. Today in fact, it is possible to install GPS systems on self-driving machines, NIR sensors and other technological devices on machinery at affordable costs for businesses. The work in the vineyard is a typical situation where it is possible to use GPS technology: machines can work semi-independently on the basis of field mapping that takes into account radiation, humidity, ventilation and soil composition in that specific area.
Having on fields and machines these types of sensors for real-time monitoring of factors such as soil moisture or plants' color according to their phases of growth, allows machines to optimize treatments and operations in compliance with detected parameters.
And still, with regard to software and computer services, by using predictive algorithms and artificial intelligence, all operations can be programmed taking into account the data collected in previous operations by machines or sensors, as well as the huge amount of information provided by other system networks (such as weather stations, neighboring farms and so on). As a result, increasingly precise work operations (calibrated on each area of the field or even on each plant) allow to save raw materials and have better products in terms of quality and quantity.
To achieve these results, it is necessary to disseminate such information and knowledge, to let people understand how these devices, if properly used, result not only in economic advantages for farms, but also in healthier products from virtuous and more eco-friendly crops.