The mountain farm ‘Uchitelski’ optimises the resources and human labour used by automating the irrigation and precise fertigation with ONDO
The high farming season has just opened here in Europe. And with the first warm days just behind us, we already have several new ONDO installations completed. One of those installations is the farm ‘Krasimir Uchitelski’ in the village of Dolna Ribnitsa, Petrich, Bulgaria.
‘Krasimir Uchitelski’ is one of the few farms in Bulgaria located at a fairly high altitude – 700 m above sea level. This geographical location of the farm does pose some logistics challenges to its team but, on the other hand, gives the farm a competitive advantage by letting it sell on the local market pink tomatoes until late summer – a time when, due to the high temperatures, other local farmers are already out of produce.
The farm includes a total of 4 arable plots significantly distanced from each other, with a total span of 3 ha. The crops grown are pink tomatoes, cucumbers, leafy greens and other vegetables. 3 of the plots are entirely used for greenhouse production, while the 4th one combines greenhouse and open field production.
The owner of the farm – Krasimir Uchitelski – is a very innovative farmer with 10+ years of experience. He is constantly on the lookout for new technologies on his farm, seeking to optimise the costs and boost the crop yield. He was referred to ONDO by a friend and reached out to our team, to install ONDO automation in one of his four plots – the one combining greenhouse and open field vegetable production.
In farm ‘Uchitelski’ ONDO is now automating the irrigation in 6 irrigation zones as well as the precise 2-channel fertigation. EC/PH control on the irrigation water will also be added soon – to further precise the usage of the nutrients and ensure optimal taste and quality of the produce. Our team fully met the customer’s specialrequirement to accomplish the installation inside a container, so that it could be moved, if needed.
The key goals that the farm owner was looking to pursue via the ONDO automation were:
increasing the crop yield
optimising the usage of the water resource
optimising the usage of fertilisers
optimising the human labour used on the farm
➨ The water for the plants comes from drilling at a high altitude, but the water flow is low. Hence, a water storage tank was built next to the farm, so water could be collected in it and then passed on to the drip irrigation and micro sprinkler irrigation systems via gravity pressure (there is no main irrigation pump). By using ONDO, the farm is now looking to achieve maximum precision, remote control and monitoring on the plant irrigation, so the scarce water could be enough to meet the needs of the plants throughout the entire season.
➨ The farm sells mainly to the big supermarkets, which requires that its produce is constantly complying with standards for food quality and safety. To meet the needed standard requirements, the farm is using bio nutrients in one of the 2 fertigation channels. But, nutrients, and particularly bio nutrients are expensive. Hence, the farm is looking to optimise the use of fertilisers which would significantly cut its production costs and let it continuously comply with the needed standards.
➨ Last but not least, by using ONDO the customer is looking to optimise the human labour used on the farm. There is a single team of personnel working on all 4 arable plots. In the busy summer season, working on all 4 plots is quite difficult due to the distance and the challenging road terrain. Thanks to the automation, remote control and monitoring of the routine and time-consuming activities related to the farm irrigation and fertigation, the farm can distribute their labour force between the four plots, reduce the stress and increase the motivation and efficiency of the farm team.
The farm Uchitelski is already actively using its ONDO automation and we will let you know, when their first crop season is over, whether they met all goals they were looking to pursue with ONDO.
We wish the entire farm team a very successful farming season and thank them for their trust!