Via E. Parmense 84
29122 Piacenza PC
The CRAST (Spatial Analysis and Remote Sensing Research Center) is a research center of the Agricultural Sciences Faculty of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC), the largest Italian free academic institution. Thanks to half a century of research work, teaching and training activities the Agricultural faculty of Piacenza and Cremona has achieved a reputation of prestige that extends well beyond Italy. In recent years, research has been concentrated on certain particularly important contexts including: genetics and food safety, vegetable and animal products, crop and food protection, milk and dairy production, viticulture and wine production, agri-food economy and environmental protection.
The CRAST center has been involved in several research and operational activities addressing the spatial characterization and distribution of agricultural systems. CRAST carried out research activities in the general application of Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing to the agricultural and environmental sciences in the context of the Italian and international projects. During these projects the activities over Italian experimental sites in experimental missions of observation of the earth such as the Radar Shuttle Topography Mission (SRTM) - NASA and acquisitions of the CHRIS/Proba hyperspectral sensor of the European Space Agency were coordinated by CRAST. The CRAST is the scientific partner of the Citimap center (Centre for Innovation on the use of Remote Sensing in the Mechanical Industry for Precision Agriculture). In this context CRAST has been involved in several research and operational activities addressing the application of remotely sensed data to variable rate fertilization and irrigation techniques.
CRAST is part, as an accredited industrial research center, of :
- the High Technology Network of Emilia-Romagna Region (http://www.retealtatecnologia.it/en) ;
- the Clust-ER Agrifood, the community of public and private bodies (research centres, businesses, training bodies) that share ideas, skills, tools, and resources to support the competitiveness of the most important production systems in Emilia-Romagna (http://www.retealtatecnologia.it/en/clust-er-associations).
Remote sensing Lab with workstations and main software packages for the analysis of remotely sensed data (PCI Geomatica, ENVI, e-Cognition). Complete equipment for field spectroradiometry (FieldSpecHH and HH2 VIS-NIR spectroradiometers with contact probe, CROPSCAN MSR16 VIS-NIR spectroradiometer) and measure of vegetation biophysical parameters (Licor LAI2000, Decagon AccuPAR LP-80 Ceptometer, Minolta SPAD 502 chlorophyll meter; portable gas-exchange meter ADC LCi and CIRAS 2; Thermal Imaging camera FLIR).
Animal farming activities are also performed by using Ruminometer SCR Heatime® Pro for monitoring of rumination activity, Individual feeding station "Calan Broadbent Feeding System" for dairy cow.
Software SimaPro for LCA in agricultural systems.
The CRAST centre offers several services to SMEs:
- Remotely sensed images and mapping;
- Application of remotely sensed data to in agricultural systems;
- Designing and management of variable rate application protocols in annual crops, orchards and vineyards (e.g. fertilization, irrigation and selective harvesting);
- Experimental facilities to carry out nutritional/performance trials on livestock (dairy cows, sheep, swine, poultry);
- Real-time monitoring of food processing.
These services are, amongst others, interesting for SMEs active in sensors (like meteo sensors, soil sensors, canopy sensor, etc.), smart machinery for the agriculture industry, and digital mapping from proximal and remote sensing.