New Precision Agriculture Department at MIGAL Research Institute

The new department will conduct applied research with the goal of assuring profitable, high levels of agricultural production and improved protection of natural resources
New Precision Agriculture Department at MIGAL Research Institute (Enlarge)

 

The loss of agricultural lands and increased water shortage, along with the anticipated growth in Earth's population, make it a necessity to find solutions that will allow producing a sufficient amount of food while using resources sustainably and with minimal harm to the environment.

 

Precision agriculture is a new field that is now becoming significant in Israel and worldwide, aiming to create new technologies and tools to manage these challenges. Indeed, the last few years have seen a wide-ranging technological revolution in agriculture. Remote sensing with multiwavelength imaging cameras operated from manned or unmanned aerial vehicle; spectrum analysis of abnormal phenomena in crops; statistical analysis of those phenomena and transmittal of results to farmers combined with GIS tools; using smartphones to get information and operate equipment in the field; advanced robotics and other innovative technologies – all of these are no longer science fiction but an inseparable part of the reality into which modern agriculture is heading. Through those innovative technologies, precision agriculture helps farmers make informed decisions about their farms, improve profitability by smart irrigation, promote efficient usage of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as precise thinning, and more.

As part of this trend, a precision agriculture unit has been established at MIGAL – Galilee Research Institute, where groundbreaking applied researches and experiments are done in agricultural fields in the Galilee and Golan Heights using new technologies and equipment, including the most advanced sensors, drones, and satellites.
The goal of these studies is to minimize water usage (precision irrigation) as well as fertilizers and pesticides, while giving a "personal treatment" to each plant and tree. The unit's areas of activity are adjusted to the needs of the region's farmers and are
accompanied by economic evaluations.

The Department of Precision at MIGAL (along with Northern R&D researchers) works in cooperation with Volcani Center and the Faculty of Agriculture at the Hebrew University. Incorporating Galilee industries in the process is significant to the researchers and, naturally, to the farmers and industry as well. MIGAL is a multidisciplinary applied research institute, specializing in agriculture, agrotechnology, nutrition, environmental, computer, and biotechnology sciences. Founded in 1979, the institute is owned by the Galilee Development Company and is located in Kiryat Shmona and Tel-Hai Industrial Park.

 

MIGALs' workforce includes 75 PhDs and a total of 250 researchers, technicians, research assistants, and students for advanced academic degrees, distributed into 30 labs that are managed by experienced senior group leaders. The institute has an excellent research infrastructure and well-equipped laboratories. The institute promotes scientific and technological innovation and leads the development and integration of new technologies, aiming to support development of knowledge-based economy in the Galilee.

Along the years, MIGAL has earned both a domestic and a worldwide reputation as an innovation hub in the agrotech field. The Northern R&D researchers carry out applied agricultural studies in research and extension farms across the Galilee, Golan Heights, and Jordan Valley. These activities, which are derived from understanding market needs and evaluating anticipated trends in agriculture, help promote sustainable agriculture, improve the quality of agricultural products and utilize the relative advantages of the region).

 

For the digital issue focusing on Food Tech, for the World Food Day 2018