The digital revolution has the potential to change European Agriculture profoundly: Decision-making becomes sharper, smarter and simpler. By combining the power of a farmer’s instinct with cutting-edge technologies such as satellite imagery, variable application algorithms, high-tech sensors, mobile applications or GPS, a farmer can make better informed choices that lead to higher yields and a lower environmental impact.
To experience digital farming in practice and discuss how EU policies could speed up the development and uptake of digital innovations, the European agricultural machinery industry association CEMA and Bayer’s CropScience division launched a series of interactive farm visits on June 29 to “Hof ten Bosch”, a local farm near Brussels.
Over the next three days, EU policymakers, stakeholders and journalists will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the difference digital technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) can make to agricultural operations and practices. State-of-the-art tractors, a precision potato planter, a slurry injector and a sprayer will perform live demonstrations in the field, while representatives from CEMA, Bayer and the University of Ghent will share insights and answer questions on what digital farming is all about.
Opening the series of farm visits, Alan Jagoe, President of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) said, “Digital technology development and adoption has great potential to support the way farmers run their farms. Digital technology can also play a role in attracting young talents - that are already tech-oriented to farming and thus to one of the most exciting jobs today: ensuring that Europeans have high-quality-food on their plates.”
Richard Markwell, CEMA President, said, “Intelligent machines are at the heart of the digital revolution in farming. To ensure digital technologies are used in EU agriculture on a large scale we need supportive and forward-looking public policies to overcome the latent investment gap in the sector, particularly in times of low commodity prices.”
Franz Eversheim, Head of EU Government Relations for Bayer’s CropScience division, said, “Data-driven know-how and analysis help farmers to optimize their business management – save time, lower costs, increase yields, and use the planet’s resources more efficiently and sustainably.”
The farm visits will include the contributions of representatives from the EU Institutions and the European agri-community such as Richard Ashworth MEP, Nicola Caputo MEP, Jan Huitema MEP, Georgios Mathioudakis of the European Commission, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, Björn Juretzki, of European Commission, DG Connect and Dutch ‘digital farmer’ Jacob Van den Borne.