A major milestone in the history of IrriGATE: prototyping in Greece

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The long history of the IrriGATE technology can be followed back to the 1970s. During the decades there were several milestones marking the way from scientific achievement through concept to the present system.

Of particular importance among them is the Sindos Institute project that took place in the Thessaloniki region in Greece back in 1994. For us at Archimedes – UDSS its significance stems from the simple yet remarkable facts that:

  • (1) it was actually the first post-Communist demonstration of what would become IrriGATE
  • (2) it proved that the approach was feasible in different geographical regions.

By that time the scientists who are now a part of the Archimedes R&D unit had already established the academic base of the technology and had it proven in various locations in Bulgaria.

Nevertheless, all that had been done in the 1980s, and the outcomes of the trials, although definitely successful, had sunken in the turmoil that marked Bulgarian agriculture in the early 1990s. Our savants were the only ones who were keeping the records of a method completely forgotten by the rest of the Bulgarian scientific circles. However, being forgotten in Bulgaria didn’t mean being forgotten at all. Especially when it comes to a know-how able to evolve into a tool for agri-food production management, i.e. a solution of potentially strategic importance.

So in 1993, the scientists were contacted by NATO research division officials and invited to run a new field trial in Sindos, Greece.

As a result, between May and September, 1994, the software prototype developed by our team members was applied for maize and cotton. Irrigation schedules for both crops were established, taking into account the soil, weather and landscape specifics of the Thessaloniki region. Mentioned prototype consisted of seven software modules running on DOS and our scientists were the only ones able to handle it. Using these programs, the scholars established specific levels of soil moisture energy for maize and cotton corresponding to pre-set amounts of yields. It was accordingly managed the whole irrigation cycle for the 1994 production year.

The outcomes for both crops were impressive in terms of coincidence between pre-set and actually harvested produce. Eventually they  showed that the method we now call IrriGATE was applicable on virtually every field, everywhere on Earth.

All of that happened 25 years ago. Today, that method is far from being locked only in experimental fields at agricultural institutes – it’s available for every single farmer dealing with irrigated crops in the shape of the IrriGATE technology offered by Archimedes – UDSS.


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