• en
  • fr
  • pt-br
  • es

Aqua-4D on the road: A Spanish Diary

by | Oct 22, 2018 | People |

A huge part of what Aqua-4D does is not just delivering its plug-and-play solution, but also providing long-term support and project follow-ups. This means that the technical team for each region spends a high percentage of their working life on site visits to various places.

To shed some light on this process, Hugo Gaignebet (Technical Support Engineer) and Charles-Henri Faure (Chief Technical Director) spent a week in southern Spain on client visits and documented their visit in a daily journal. They were visiting the EU-funded Fertinnowa project, dedicated to applying “innovative technologies and practices for the fertigation of horticultural crops” and Aqua-4D systems installed on local farms. Here’s what Hugo and Charles-Henri got up to:

Monday, October 1: After an early flight to Alicante I grabbed my hire car and drove towards a company which produces lettuces. There I met Pedro, the new agronomy technician, who was very interested in the potential of our system for his crops.

Tuesday October 2: I met Charles-Henri at the airport and then we went on a return visit to Fernando at a large agri-tourism farm. Fernando is in charge of the pepper production at the greenhouse in which Fertinnowa has installed our system.

We had previously asked Fernando to make as rigorous a follow-up as possible of the tensiometer, and indeed for the previous two weeks he had sent me photos of the tensiometers, the control plot and the Aqua-4D plot, with quite some difference to before as you’ll see in the attached table. Now he’s really adapting the irrigation well according to the tensiometer readings. There was a problem at the start where there was too much moisture; we disconnected the system to see whether this moisture came from differences in the soil or from the Aqua-4D system.

It’s possible to see the results for the 2 weeks without Aqua-4D and difference is really obvious. It’s yet again another concrete example of how monitoring the humidity is essential in understanding the Aqua-4D system and adapting irrigation according to the specific soil situation.

After a fantastic lunch we made a final visit to the greenhouse to do some electrical measurements before some evening tapas in Almeria.

Wednesday October 3: We arrived at Fertinnowa at 8:30am for a series of conferences, each more interesting than the next; a Spanish group talking about the importance of tensiometers, a leading Dutch company discussing the importance of climate control, humidity control, precision fertilization, water recycling, and the Dutch objectives for 2027 which outclass all other world regions in terms of ecology and agriculture.

We eat all together at 3pm, showing the Dutch that they’re far from home, haha.

There was also a chance to discuss with Luis, our Sevillian distributor, about our foliar analysis results.  Lastly, before the evening Tapas there was a vote about the most innovative technology; Aqua-4D came second.

Thursday October 4: Today was another visiting day, to the farm where our Aqua-4D system is installed is an agri-tourism location so there are many visitors. It’s really interesting and Lola, the manager, explains the evolution of agriculture in Almeria. There are around 15,000 farmers for 34,000 hectares so it’s quite packed. It was interesting to hear that while the fertilizer amount varies in the region, the yields are broadly similar; we had interesting conversations with several agronomists about the reasons for this.

Friday October 5: We visited a client to transform their F-A 10 into an F-A 20. This was done quickly and then we discussed the validation follow-up. I asked him to put tensiometers this time and do a more rigorous follow-up of the moisture. Later in the day I leave for Switzerland where my colleague Javier is waiting for me with a beer.

Pictured: Hugo Gaignebet surveys the crops.

Chilean Avocado producers are innovating for water efficiency

    Now over ten times more popular than in the 1980s, in some ways the avocado has been a victim of its own success. Its notoriety (particularly amongst millennials) has brought its supposed water footprint in Chile under the spotlight, but often in reports which...

Alberto Femenia on water savings and nematode control in Argentina

    Alberto Femenia sits before us wearing an immaculate suit and a wise smile. He's a true veteran in the agri-business, having headed up Casa Femenia for almost half a century. It's a family business in every sense of the world - it dates way back to 1904, and his...

João Suss on higher yields and sustainable agriculture in Brazil

On a recent visit to our new Headquarters in Sierre, Joao Suss shared his thoughts on sustainable agriculture and his experience with the Aqua-4D system in Brazil. What’s been the reaction to the Aqua-4D system in Brazil? Aqua-4D is a really innovative technology. It...

Water use in California: the inside story

Walter K. Thut, the Swiss co-founder of Aqua-4D, is now based in California. On a recent visit to Gemperle Family Farms in Turlock, he wanted to find out more about water use in the almond industry, beyond the headlines. He spoke to Richard Gemperle about this and...

Almonds: higher yields, less water?

    As part of the new Aqua-4D website, all Field References are now viewable online. Here we introduce one of the most recent: Almonds. California produces a whopping 81% of the world’s almonds but has suffered from severe water shortages over the last decade. What...