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Re-imagining the Future
What Does the Internet of Farming Look Like in Practice?
Albert Schirring
Albert Schirring
Global Crop Manager for Vegetables & Potatoes, and Bayer Crop Science representative for the IoF2020 project
Just as the heart relies on an interconnected web of veins to fuel the body, so too does a farm when it comes to keeping a pulse on the health of the harvest.

 

At the Green Heart Farm, a Bayer ForwardFarm in the Netherlands, digital farming technology provides farmer Jasper Roubos a wealth of knowledge to optimize his crops of winter wheat, potato, onion and sugar beet.

 

On the farm, Bayer is able to put partnership into practice – showcasing the company’s involvement in the Internet of Food & Farm 2020 project (IoF2020). This collaboration – co-funded by the European Union – started in January 2017 with the aim of developing innovative Internet of Things (IoT) solutions by improving and connecting digital applications already available on the European market.

 

“Digital farming is one of the solutions to addressing big challenges in the food system – how to feed the world with double the population and half the resources,” says Dr. George Beers, IoF2020 project manager at Wageningen University, Netherlands. “It can help us be more resource-efficient, and it can help us to have better quality and safer products.”

 

The IoF2020 project involves 71 partners and covers five sectors – arable, dairy, fruits, vegetables and meat. As a partner in the vegetable sector, Bayer contributes in developing the best digital solutions for effective and sustainable potato farming.

Dr. George Beers
Digital farming is one of the solutions to addressing big challenges in the food system.
Dr. George Beers
IoF2020 project manager at Wageningen University, Netherlands

“The big challenge is to increase productivity with less effort, less inputs,” says Peter Paree, program leader of The Southern Agriculture and Horticulture Organization (ZLTO) in the Netherlands. “It’s necessary to use the best techniques, the best new developments that you have, that you can use. Farmers should take advantage of all data, all knowledge that exists; and I think that in the potato industry – more than in other crops – it’s really important to be the best, to invest, and to innovate, and that’s what’s being done at the Green Heart Farm.”

 

The farm implements soil scanning techniques as a basis for variable planting density, in-field digital monitoring of the yield, and crop scanning technologies to support optimum timing and variable rate application of fertilizer and crop protection products.

“For deploying Internet of Things, you need quite a robust and expensive infrastructure. The more companies that are using this Internet infrastructure, the more it becomes affordable,” says Beers. “Farms like Green Heart Farm can demonstrate good practices that people can replicate. We have an ambitious farmer – a very well educated, skilled farmer – and he’s really interested in innovation and for innovative approaches.”

Peter Paree
Farmers should take advantage of all data, all knowledge that exists.
Peter Paree
program leader of The Southern Agriculture and Horticulture Organization (ZLTO) in the Netherlands

The first results of trials in potato farming are expected by the end of 2017. Over the next four years Jasper and his team will provide valuable insights to the IoF2020 team as they seek to test, validate, and ultimately replicate this technology across Europe.

 

Bayer ForwardFarming is dedicated to advancing sustainable agriculture to meet a growing population demand, and is proud to bring this initiative to life by demonstrating the added value of smart webs of IoT technology in the agriculture sector.

 

“I see a lot of paperwork on Internet of things – I see slideshows, I see PowerPoints, I see graphs, but at the Green Heart Farm, you can really see the machines, really can see the hardware,” says Beers. “And there’s a farmer who can explain in detail what the issue is all about.”

Dr. George Beers
Farms like the Green Heart Farm can demonstrate good practices that people can replicate.
Dr. George Beers
IoF2020 project manager at Wageningen University, Netherlands

View the live footage captured during recent farm tours here to see the IoT innovations in action. To learn more about the Green Heart Farm and Bayer ForwardFarming visit www.ForwardFarming.com or follow the conversation on social media using #ForwardFarming.

Liam Condon, Head of the Bayer Crop Science Division, and Dr. George Beers, IoF2020 project manager at Wageningen University, Netherlands, discuss the importance of the internet of things as a key contributor to positively shaping the future of farming.
Liam Condon, Head of the Bayer Crop Science Division, and Dr. George Beers, IoF2020 project manager at Wageningen University, Netherlands, discuss the importance of the internet of things as a key contributor to positively shaping the future of farming.
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