Overall Objectives

OPTIFERT aims at achieving the following overall objectives:

  • Development of a competitive, combined, innovative demand driven irrigation and fertilisation system for European farmers. 
  • To increase the competitiveness and sustainability of the European agricultural sector

Scientific and technological objectives:

  • To develop, build and implement a prototype of an OPTIFERT fertigation system based on a feedback data processing (software) which is able to provide amounts of water and nutrients tailored to suit specific crop requirements 
  • To develop and test an innovative soil sensor system measuring soil moisture, ammonium (NH4+), ortho-phosphate ) nitrate (NO3-), nitrite (NO2-) and salinity 
  • To combine irrigation and fertilisation in a one-step approach
  • To reach and assure the compatibility of the OPTIFERT prototype with existing irrigation system (sprinkler, Center pivot irrigation, Lateral move (side roll, wheel line) irrigation, drip irrigation)
  • To test different alternative liquid fertilizer (manure, urine, biogas digestate) with the OPTIFERT prototype 

Environmental objectives:

  • To save scarce water resources by reducing the need of freshwater for agricultural irrigation up to 30%
  • To avoid pollution of surface and groundwater water resources (in terms of EU Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EG) by reducing the amount of applied fertilizers (-35 %)
  • to develop a system which combines irrigation and fertilisation in order to reduce the consumption of energy and fuel, which leads to lower emission of CO2 in terms of the “Kyoto Protocol” and the EC program “Reducing greenhouse gases by 2020”

Socio-economic objectives:

  • To develop and test a market oriented and cost-efficient fertigation system which can be introduced successfully in the European agricultural market and worldwide
  • Allow agricultural production in water scarce regions avoiding effects of desertification and degradation
  • To reach an market share in Europe of new sold irrigation systems of at least 20 % in the year 2016
  • To upgrade at least 20 % of presently used irrigations systems in the year 2016
  • To distribute and commercialise the developed soil sensor-software system in markets which will be not addressed directly by the SME consortium (world licence)
  • To reduce the costs of irrigation for the final user by at least 30% (water savings).
  • To reduce the costs of fertilization for the final user by at least 35% (saving of mineral fertilizers and use of alternatives).
  • To summarize the existing knowledge in irrigation and fertilization systems and transfer this knowledge to potential end users (awareness rising).
  • To increase competiveness of European farmers and therefore safe and create employment in rural areas
  • To create new jobs in the production, maintenance and operation of the proposed system.