Probelte puts into practice a pioneering study in Huelva where, taking advantage of the launch of its new biofungicide, Botrybel, it will analyze the determining factors for Botrytis in strawberry cultivation, with the aim of improving efficacy in the treatment and control of one of the most damaging and difficult to control crop diseases. Initiative that will be replicated in the same crop in California, North Carolina and Florida.
The first sensor ‘against botrytis’, in Huelva.
Botrytis causes significant losses among the most important crops globally. Botrytis cinerea, the pathogen that causes it, is closely related to environmental conditions and local climate. Among the difficulties to prevent infection are various biological and contextual factors that cannot be controlled, so it is not always possible to use products that ensure their effectiveness. Probelte is carrying out prediction and modeling studies to recognize these random factors and thus help control the occurrence of botrytis. Huelva's strawberry fields are the setting to begin to define these predictive models. For this, a study is being carried out that will have field sensors developed for this purpose. These collect local climatic values and record the state of the crops. In addition, the study contemplates different hypotheses and variations in the dosage, the moment and application of Botrybel in the crop. The study began in December, and three sensors will be implemented, including a weather station; sensors for light intensity and ultraviolet; and sensors for temperature and humidity for the soil. A leaf moisture monitoring system will also be installed, something crucial in controlling the appearance of botrytis. With all this data, the study will aim to develop a series of recommendations for use and compare them. These will be designed to treat the disease with maximum efficiency, suggesting the best moment of application and dosage of the biofungicide, quantifying its behavior. With all this, Probelte wants to be able to communicate in a clearer, easier and more practical way about the solutions that the farmer needs, seeking maximum customization and efficiency.
From Huelva to California.
Although the first sensor will be installed in Huelva, this study will be replicated in North Carolina, Florida and California thanks to the close collaboration that Probelte maintains with North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the opening of its new subsidiary in the USA. The tools and technologies developed in this collaborative project with the University of North Carolina will support the rigorous testing and deployment of agricultural products. The research will also be carried out in strawberry fields, due to their high agricultural interest, and will demonstrate the successful integration of models, field monitoring and product application, after the work started in Spain. This project helps to strengthen the innovative work of Probelte in the United States, hand in hand with one of the most prestigious research entities in the field of biotechnology.
Digitization, the future of Probelte
The purpose of this study, and subsequent ones, is to define all the variables and collect the data necessary to support a model to provide recommendations. This can only be done thanks to digitization. The processing of huge amounts of data, almost in real time, of an endless number of variables from all kinds of fields, is something very complex to deal with.
With these measures, arrays of field sensors will be designed to detect these indicators and monitor the possible appearance of botrytis in strawberry fields, one of the crops that suffers the most from infection. Throughout 2023, the models developed can be scaled to other new models based on different crops and products.
The first Probelte solution with data-driven usage models, ie “digitized”, will be Botrybel. The company’s new strategy, oriented towards digitization, is a key step for the development of this type of technology and knowledge. For this reason, studies like the one in Huelva are vital for the future of Probelte.