The Farmer Perspective – Aleksandar Zeremski

As part of the DEMETER multi-actor approach, its important to speak with the farmers participating in the DEMETER pilots to understand their experiences with the technologies and the project. This time, we speak with Aleksandar Zeremski, a farmer in Serbia, who is participating in the ‘Disease Prediction and Supply Chain transparency for Vineyards‘ pilot. Aleksandar explains the technologies being implemented and the associated benefits and technologies.  He also discusses how the technologies are helping to improve sustainability.

Can you tell us a bit about you and your farm?

My name is Aleksandar Zeremski.  I operate a family owned vinyeard in Cerevic, a village located in the Fruska gora mountain area in Serbia.  The vineyard is approx. 20 ha in size.

How did you get involved in the DEMETER project?

We are involved in the Project as a member of Association SREM, which is a partner in the project. There are 77 grape and wine producers in the association. My vineyard is used as a pilot site where devices are installed providing insight into environment parameters that highly influence grape production.

What technologies are you using as part of the DEMETER project?

Devices for monitoring environmental parameters was installed in my vineyard where microclimate conditions are specific as there is more wind and less rain comparing to others. We are using agroNET digital platform that provide us with data visualization from installed weather station and prediction models for pest and disease appearing, with recommendations when is a right time to spray with pesticides.

What problems are the technologies solving for you?

Having real time insight into environmental parameters through the agroNET platform helps me a lot as there is no need for checking them on site. This is especially very important when it comes to checking the amount of rain and leaf wetness as these parameters are very important for disease spreading. What is more important, instructions for pest and disease management available at the platform help me to decrease the number of pesticide treatment.

Have you overcome any challenges when implementing the technology?

Sure, pest and disease management is huge challenge in grape production and I overcome it by relying on recommendations about optimal time of pesticide usage. Real time insight into environmental conditions in vineyard is also very important and challenging and I overcome it by using weather station installed in my vineyard and data visualization that I have.

What benefits have you seen/expect to see from using the technology?

First savings recorded are related to pesticide usage where I had 10% less pesticide usage. Additionally, optimized field activities led to time saving thus leaving me more time to spent in a winery.