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    Saving water in agriculture? You've got to go back to the Maristanis!

    More than encouraging results come from the actions that the Maristanis project is carrying out to save water in the areas surrounding the six Ramsar sites in the Gulf of Oristano. Support for precision agriculture is expressed not only from the sky, with the analysis produced by drones and satellite images, but also through the use of cutting-edge technology on the ground in the pilot sites of "Sa Marigosa" and " Punto verde ”, companies that have embraced the philosophy of Maristanis, built around a new balance between anthropogenic activities and environmental protection.

    The avant-garde drip irrigation system produced by Netafim and financed by Maristanis and Confagricoltura Oristano operates both in the artichoke fields of Riola Sardo and in the strawberry fields adjacent to the Marceddì pond. The system consists of three probes that at 20 and 40 centimeters detect and transmit data on soil moisture to computers and mobile phones, while signaling the possible need to activate the sub-irrigation system and the appropriate amount of water, dripped from the wings placed along the rows. Rigid, durable plastic hoses that avoid frequent replacement. At the edge of the fields stands the small weather station, capable of obtaining data on air temperature, relative humidity, radiation, wind speed and direction, amount of rain and dew point.

    “Despite the late beginning, production was very good in the two hectares where we have applied the new system. Water savings can be as high as 50%. A very important result, determined above all by the lack of evaporation of the water, poured directly onto the roots. On average, we can say that the savings are around 30% ”, explains Giovanni Sanna, agronomist of Sa Marigosa. Decreasing, according to the same principle of root direct irrigation, are also the fertilizers. “Indeed, excellent results. We are really grateful to the Maristanis project and the MEDSEA Foundation that included us in this project. It is essential to find new technologies that help us to preserve the environment and maintain the same production regime, especially in such a complicated area for agriculture", says Paolo Mele, one of the owners of the company, which stretches out amid the ponds of Trottas, Pischixeddu, Domu su cuaddu and Istai.

    "Sa Marigosa operates in an area without infrastructure and has always been forced to use brackish well water, which is dangerous for production as well as for groundwater. Same degree of difficulty for Punto Verde, located a few meters from the Marceddì pond. Sandy soils, extremely draining, in which the empirical irrigation adopted in the past could only use more water than necessary", says Enrico Perria, Netafim technician who followed all the implementation phases in the two companies.

    “Two very, very positive seasons”, according to Antonello Cester, owner of Punto Verde. "We have calculated a water saving that fluctuates between 15 and 17%, and also the administration of fertilizers has greatly benefited from the sub-irrigation system. Strawberries need water and nutrients in the first 25/30 centimeters, just where the drip system works. The weather station also helped us a lot. Several times it happened that we did not irrigate because the data indicated impending rain. A small revolution".

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