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Smart Farming

05/07/2014 @ 3:25pm

A major theme at Agritechnica 2013 was optimizing farming practices. It’s also why exhibition organizers created Smart Farming – an area of the show that spotlights innovations from around the globe.

“Smart Farming should be considered a toolbox that consists not only of software solutions, but also of aids of every kind,” says Klaus Erdle, who heads the Smart Farming initiative.

According to Erdle, a large number of precision farming systems have been offered to farmers for collecting information about their operations. Yet, there’s been a lack of solutions to support the turning of that data into practical resolutions.

“Smart Farming should help farmers make decisions to improve their production,” he says. “Software tools should support producers by helping to interpret soil maps or crop data offered by satellite pictures or sensor data.”

The next step is to turn those decisions into actionable items in the field, which Erdle says requires improved farm machinery like better nozzles for crop sprayers or optimized spreaders for fertilizer application. The exhibit focused on five key areas in crop production: tillage/sowing, fertilizing, plant protection, cross-sectional data management, and harvesting and logistics.

“This year, optimized hardware was included in Smart Farming, along with many more data management solutions that will support farmers in dealing with information and data and implementing planned measures in their crops,” he notes. “More importantly, the technologies showcased will not require farmers to completely change their production systems. Instead, they will offer small solutions to improve the systems that are already in place.”

Here are eight from the more than two dozen ideas featured.

Tillage/Sowing

1 Germany: With its innovative shape, the Lemken TriMix combines three tools in one. The tips penetrate to rip up the soil. The guide board (also referred to as the shin) mixes it, and the wings and wingletts turn the soil one more time. Because the wings are polished, soil flows freely over it. With this triple efficiency, the Kristall Compact Cultivator requires fewer tines, which makes the implement easier to pull.

Fertilizing

2 Germany:  Amazone’s ZA-TS fertilizer spreader features the AutoTS boundary spreading system, which creates a large throwing width for normal spreading, yet it still places the fertilizer precisely along a field’s edges.

With the remote-control boundary spreading system, the full rate of fertilizer is spread more accurately and much closer to the field’s borders. Initial tests revealed that even at narrower working widths, yields increased 15% compared with normal border spreading systems.

3 Denmark: Recent legislation in Denmark means farmers will have to stop surface application of slurry on grassland unless they reduce ammonia emissions.

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Farm Science Review, Day Two