Nitrogen replenishment using variable rate application technique in a small hand-harvested pear orchard

  • Anna Vatsanidou University of Thessaly, Department of Agriculture, Crop Production and Rural Environment, Laboratory of Farm Mechanization, Fytoko str., 38446 N. Ionia Magnesia
  • George D. Nanos University of Thessaly, Department of Agriculture, Crop Production and Rural Environment, Laboratory of Pomology, Fytoko str., 38446 N. Ionia Magnesia
  • Spyros Fountas University of Athens, Department of Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural, Iera Odos 75, 11845 Athens
  • John Baras University of Thessaly, Department of Agriculture, Crop Production and Rural Environment, Laboratory of Farm Mechanization, Fytoko str., 38446 N. Ionia Magnesia
  • Anamaria Castrignano Agricultural Research Council Research, Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry Environment, Via Celso Ulpiani, n. 570125 Bari
  • Theofanis A. Gemtos University of Thessaly, Department of Agriculture, Crop Production and Rural Environment, Laboratory of Farm Mechanization, Fytoko str., 38446 N. Ionia Magnesia
Keywords: precision agriculture, yield mapping, soil variability, site-specific management, fertilisation, Pyrus communis L.


Precision agriculture is a management approach for sustainable agriculture. It can be applied even in small fields. It aims to optimize inputs, improve profits, and reduce adverse environmental impacts. In this study, a series of measurements were conducted over three growing seasons to assess variability in a 0.55 ha pear orchard located in central Greece. Soil ECa was measured using EM38 sensor, while soil samples were taken from a grid 17 × 8 m and analysed for texture, pH, P, K, Mg, CaCO3, and organic matter content. Data analysis indicated that most of the nutrients were at sufficient levels. Soil and yield maps showed considerable variability while fruit quality presented small variations across the orchard. Yield fluctuations were observed, possibly due to climatic conditions. Prescription maps were developed for nitrogen variable rate application (VRA) for two years based on the replacement of the nutrients removed by the crop. VRA application resulted in 56% and 50% reduction of N fertiliser compared to uniform application.


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How to Cite
VatsanidouA., NanosG. D., FountasS., BarasJ., CastrignanoA., & GemtosT. A. (2018). Nitrogen replenishment using variable rate application technique in a small hand-harvested pear orchard. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 15(4), e0209.
Agricultural engineering