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STSM: Exploring Remote Sensing Technologies

STSM: Exploring Remote Sensing Technologies

In April 2024, Leonardo Conti traveled to Spain for a FruitCREWS Short-Term Scientific Mission (STSM) to learn how remote sensing technologies can help monitor crop water status. Hosted by Institute of Agrifood Research and technology (IRTA) from April 2 to May 2, 2024, the mission gave Leonardo hands-on experience and valuable insights into how drones and satellites can improve farming practices.

During the first week, Leonardo explored the benefits and challenges of using drones and satellites to estimate evapotranspiration and manage irrigation. He gained practical skills by setting up solar panels and cameras in a pistachio field. In the following weeks, Leonardo worked closely with IRTA researchers to analyze data from drones and satellites. He used a specific model to estimate how much water crops lose and collected measurements to understand how much sunlight plants absorb, which is crucial for managing water efficiently.

A visit to an experimental apple orchard in Mollerussa allowed Leonardo to learn about lysimeters and sensors like FloraPulse and thermal cameras for plant health monitoring. He also tested a mobile app, Easy Leaf Area, to measure plant leaf coverage.

Throughout the mission, Leonardo collaborated with researchers, exchanged ideas, and found new solutions together. He plans to apply this knowledge in future field tests to improve irrigation practices and better understand plant responses to water stress.