To put an end to pesticides, they are experimenting with the high-tech greenhouse

Everyone has heard of the Ecophyto, Ecophyto II or II+ plan. At least once. They aim to reduce the use of plant protection products in France, to preserve our health and biodiversity. The objective: to reach minus 50% by 2025 and to phase out glyphosate (total, non-selective herbicide) by 2022 at the latest for all uses.

Where we are? The national plan launched in 2008 is singled out as a failure. During the first five years of its application, the consumption of these products would have even increased, according to data from Inrae (Public research institute working for a coherent and sustainable development of agriculture, food and the environment ).

But the operation sent a strong signal: the public authorities announced the end of the massive use of pesticides in agriculture.

A strong expectation, especially in the countryside

It is not only in the heart of cities that air pollution is raging. In the countryside, we also suffer this type of nuisance. If it’s not the exhaust pipes, it’s potentially what is spread in the fields. The agricultural areas that are treated with a product are looked upon with a dark eye. The concern is significant, because, of course, there is what we eat, but also what we breathe.

In the Alpes-Maritimes, where the land under greenhouses is 60% horticultural, targeted research to help growers do without pesticides is being carried out between the chamber of agriculture, the joint technological unit FioriMed and Inrae – Sophia Agrobiotech Sophia Antipolis Institute.

An interesting approach which should, if it bears fruit, interest very widely.

Biocontrol, sensors and high-tech greenhouses…

This project, called S@mosa, is still at the experimental stage. Since 2020, three sites and three production sites have been equipped in France. Thus, the Astredhor Méditerranée experiment station (La Gaude) and a horticultural property in Saint-Laurent-du-Var participate in the research work.

The idea? Collect as much data as possible, which will then be analyzed by statisticians and modellers. The aim is to obtain predictive models that will allow farmers to anticipate when pests will strike.

The right remedy, at the right time

Ultrasonic sensors, leaf wetting rates, photosynthetically active light, etc.We will provide them with precise indicators, thanks to new technologiesdetails Bruno Paris, animator of the UMT FioriMed.

But beware, they will then have to act according to their own sensitivity, in relation to the risks announced. Their biological expertise is essential.

No question of the know-how or the experience of the men of the land. The machine – even equipped with the necessary artificial intelligence – will not replace the human. Otherwise, we will go straight to failure…”Each link must play its role.

The cures? They are simple and known to all. Bruno Paris recommends the “combination of levers” – auxiliary insects, macro-organisms, hormones, natural plant defense stimulators, etc. – proven to reduce product use by up to 80%. The whole thing being to act at the right moment… there lies all the subtlety.

Protecting the environment… without killing it

Sensors, analyzers, tablets, smartphones, artificial intelligence, etc. You will need to be equipped. But what about the carbon footprint of all this high-tech equipment? The “ultra-instrumented”, “high-tech” greenhouse nevertheless raises questions. Research teams are asking themselves this crucial question. “For the time being, the massive reduction in the use of pesticides seems to largely compensate, explains Bruno Paris. The urgency of the situation is such…

We try to make the most of digital. And we also make sure that farmers take ownership of these uses.“Sociologists work with Bruno Paris teams in this regard. And meetings are regularly organized.

In any case, if the experiment succeeds, in about four years, it could be developed and distributed in all types of cultivated areas. “If it works for horticulture, it will also work for vegetables and so on.

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To put an end to pesticides, they are experimenting with the high-tech greenhouse

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