Workpackage number 1: Characterisation of Orchards Start date or start event: 0
Activity Type: RTD/Innovation
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The aim is to collect all the required in-situ data for the analysis, modelling and establishment of the best irrigation practices. An orchard data base, containing the parameters and variables characterising the agrosystem functioning, will be elaborated and made available to the IRRIQUAL participants.

Description of work

(Task 1.1) Selection and implementation of “pilot-farms” equipped with experimental facilities to monitoring plant-soil water status (months: 1-6).

The activities will take place in different orchard agrosystems (location and species):

  • Irrigation area of Murcia and Andalucía Spain (almond, peach, olive, citrus)
  • Irrigation area of Avignon France (peach)
  • Irrigation area near Volos Greece (peach, olive)
  • Irrigation area near Agadir Morocco (citrus)
  • Irrigation area near of Saida-Tyre (Lebanon) (peach, citrus)

In all of them the research will include a common experimental protocol based in the use of drip irrigation (in conjunction with fertigation), the crop physiology measurements and their relationship with the fruit quality and safety at harvest and post-harvest states. Although the kind of irrigation will be the same for all location and species (drip irrigation in conjuntion with fertigation), different RDI strategies (including partial root drying) will be implemented and tested. At least 4 different RDI strategies per type of agrosystem (species + location) will be characterised (Month 6). The most of them will be existing productive orchards, although some new orchards could be established in order to test the effect of RDI and new technologies in young trees. The characterization tasks will be performed by CSIC and UPCT in Spanish agrosystems, INRA in French agrosystems, UTH in Greece, LRA in Lebanon and SAPIAMA in Marocco. All the data will be compiled in the database, which will be elaborated and managed under the responsibility of CSIC (Month 6).

(Task 1.2) Characterization of the “pilot-farms” where different water management strategies will be evaluated (months: 1-6)

The main objectives of this task is to supply a detailed qualitative and quantitative information and knowledge of the irrigated orchards under study, their environment, management practices and equipment, and to integrate the information in a specific data base containing the relevant agronomic, environmental and technical parameters and variables of the irrigated orchards. The elaboration of this data base is a prerequisite for the other WPs of IRRIQUAL, which will need this data base for carrying out the research and development tasks.

The database will contain detailed data about the orchards characteristics and behaviour, obtained at each regional site. The orchards will be characterized by data concerning their environment (soil, climate, water quality), plant characteristics, cultural practices (fertilisation, pruning), irrigation system (design and scheduling), and inputs and outputs (water and fertilizers, energy, labour costs, etc.).

WP1 represents the basic information and knowledge component of IRRIQUAL, as all the research activities will be carried out in experimental orchards and pilot farms. The data obtained in WP1 will be intensively used in the other WPs for the analysis, modelling and establishment of the new irrigation best management practices. Besides, several orchards will be equipped with experimental facilities for monitoring plant-soil-water status. The validation of the alternative technologies for water disinfection and the new irrigation systems will be tested and validated in some of these orchards.


D4:Establishment of “pilot farms” equipped for monitoring plant-soil water status in each regional site (months 1-6)

D5: Elaboration of the IRRIQUAL orchard database. Periodical actualisation with the results obtained in the WPs. The database will be included in Web Page (months 1-6).

Milestonesand expected result:


M1.1 (Month 6). Experimental orchards and pilot farms are instrumented, equipped and ready to work

M1.2 (Month 6)The architecture of the orchard data base is defined, and the main programming work is achieved.

M1.3 (Month 6)The data base is ready for implementation and use in the server.


WP1 is a very important milestone, as the experimental fields and pilot farms constitute the main source of data and inputs for all IRRIQUAL teams. Among others, the in-situ data collected all along the project will be used in the knowledge integration activities (WP2 to WP4), in the analysis, modelling and elaboration of the irrigation best management practices (WP5, WP6, WP7, WP10, WP11). Besides, the validation of the alternative technologies for water disinfection (WP8) and RDI control systems (WP9) will be tested and validated in some of the pilot farms.