The agronomic techniques

After a complete census of the plants and the subsequent computerisation, the technical office provides to: the planning of new plants (variety, rootstock, planting material, farming system, density plantation); the guided nutrition; the control of pruning; the management of the soil; the irrigation; the thinning of fruits; the harvesting; the integrated pest management, in accordance with the regional disciplinary; and, ultimately, it controls the level of pesticide residues on fruit crops. The entire territory of the partners of the Cooperative has been divided into seven agro-climatic macro-areas, the reference parcels and the basic parcels, with uniform characteristics that allow to program and run in a rational manner the different agronomic practices.

Guided fertilization

The preparation of the plan of fertilization and fertigation is carried out with leaf analysis of macro-elements, soil analysis, agro-climatic surveys (with seven computerized forecasting stations, connected with the head-office), and the collection of annual and historical data, according to a schedule of withdrawals and periodic assessments developed by an expert system. The plan is validated by the Technical Office and distributed to members through the experts of fruit; transactions are recorded into the logbook of the individual partners. With this technique, the fertilisation with nitrogen and potassium has been reduced by 50%, and the phosphorus-based one by 30%.

Integrated pest management

Started in 1988, is now practiced on 100% of the surface with the objective of limiting the number of treatments with synthetic chemicals, to use selective pesticides for the useful insect fauna and less toxic to operators, to reduce waste and to get healthy and eco-friendly products. To achieve this, the latest techniques and methodologies to monitor the main pests and/or pathogens are, systematically, used. The monitoring aims to identify the appropriate moment to carry out pesticide treatments, reducing their number; in fact, treatments are made only once the threshold beyond which the parasite can cause economic damage to production has been exceeded. On over 1250 acres of peach trees is implemented the defense against Cydia molesta and Anarsia lineatella by the method of the mating disruption, that allows an almost complete reduction of chemical treatments. Monitoring data are computerised with the use of handheld computers, designed for the optical scanning of the bar codes installed on the traps; once read, these are subsequently transmitted to the PC at the head-office, to allow the preparation of a phytosanitary newsletter of parasite and homo-geneous area to be sent to partners through the fruit experts. All sprayers are regularly calibrated by the authorized agencies with a rigorous safety testing. Some companies have propelled sprayers with pressurised cabins.