A digital twin for precision agriculture: introducing the “Sowstain” project

On Friday, April 19th, the “Sowstain” project officially launched. Aimed at applying digital modeling and simulation systems to precision agriculture, it seeks to provide farms with a tool to optimize crop management based on variables such as weather, water availability, soil characteristics, and pathogen risks, thus ensuring product quality.

Proposed by IFAB within the context of the Innovation Grants of the National ICSC Centre and funded by PNRR funds, Sowstain will utilize the interdisciplinary activities carried out by the National Centre’s Spokes, particularly Spokes 2, 3, 4, 5, and 9. Many research institutions and private companies that are part of the National Centre are participating, including UNITN, POLIBA, UNINA, UniSALENTO, CNR, UniCal, ENEA, UNIVAQ, UNIBA, IFAB and its associates Seco Spa, CNH, and Coldiretti Bologna.

Sowstain represents a significant opportunity to accelerate digitization in agriculture. Field modeling will use data from various sources such as satellites, water flows, crop health, and machine sensors, providing end-users with a comprehensive overview of the system in the form of a web dashboard. This unprecedented support for farms will enable a clear and detailed view to aid decision-making, plan “what-if” scenarios, and manage extreme weather situations. Additionally, the effects of weather forecasts on crops will be evaluated, allowing for the identification of more resilient crops and protective strategies to adopt.

Activities will be focused in the regions of Emilia-Romagna and Salento, with the project expected to conclude by 2025.

The project’s goals, in summary, are:

Promote the use and sharing of data

  • Create models for efficient resource management, reducing unnecessary water and fertilizer use and CO2 emissions
  • Effective adaptation to changes
  • Decision support through “what-if” forecasts
  • Translate results into economic indicators for SMEs

National Centre for Research in High Performance Computing, Big Data, and Quantum Computing (ICSC), funded by the European Union – NextGenerationEU – and by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) – Mission 4 Component 2

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