Spring began, and along with it so did the first activities of the experimental part of the SMARTWATER project.  

The University of Sarajevo (UNSA) is a part of research activities within WP3 (Networking and knowledge sharing) together with the University of Banja Luka (UNI-BL) and other EU partners and plans to conduct two-year joint research activities. 

The location of planned research within UNSA is the experimental fields of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science in Butmir, near Sarajevo. These fields are located on flat land 505 m above sea level.   

The basic plot has an area of 400 m2, under three different water regimes (full irrigation, deficit irrigation, and rainfed conditions) in three repetitions. The research will be conducted on maize, whereas the grass (Italyan Rye) will be used for observing a NDVI index from the reference grass.  

Experimental protocols and first results

The first step of the experiment was to analyze the soil. This included analyzing soil physical properities (permeability, bulk density, water capacity, structure, texture, and morphological characteristics), and soil chemical characteristics (humus, organic matter, easily accessible phosphorus and potassium content). 

A total of 10 soil samples were taken from each plot for fertility control. The collected data were used to determine the fertilization norm before sowing. In addition, a pedological soil profile was opened to determine soil characteristics by profile depth. 

The first results of the analysis showed that the soil type is an alluvial with heavier mechanical composition, and with medium humus content (2.00 – 2.65%). 

The second step was to mark the plots for sowing. This was achieved by using GPS technology, based on the network of pixels from the Sentinel2 satellite. 

As part of the research, it is planned to use Sentinel-2 satellites to analyze the condition of crops such as crop health, stress, and visual biological characteristics and to test computational – software models to track crop development and its watering requirements: AquaCrop, DSSAT, Blueleaf, SIMDualKc and ExcelIRR. 

After the pre-sowing soil preparation, on May 7, 2021, the BL 43 local maize hybrid was sown on a total area of 3600 m2 with a sowing distance of 70×20 cm. The grass was sown on an area of 400 m2.