Modernisation of a rice farm in Portugal through the application of precision farming in its irrigation infrastructure.
Orivárzea is a company and Association of rice producers. It also manages a production area of 959 ha and carries out other activities such as the drying, storing, milling, blanching, packing and marketing and selling of the rice (Oryza sativa L.). Before receiving Rural Development Programme (RDP) support Orivárzea used an inadequate irrigation infrastructure that was over 30 years old.
The old system was energy consuming, leaked and therefore wasted water. To improve its production efficiency, while also protecting the environment, Orivárzea upgraded its irrigation infrastructure in about two thirds of the production area (661.9 hectares). This was done by replacing the pumping system and improving the water distribution network to the seedbeds/rice fields.
Investment in the pumping system has allowed an increase in the efficiency of the water catchment capacity, i.e. with less powerful / energy consuming systems.
The new pipelines make it possible to maintain the same low, yet sufficient, water level across all the rice beds.
In terms of the efficiency of production the costs for water, energy, pesticides, fertilisers and labour decreased while the production yield increased.