Agritechnica will have an overall theme for the first time this year. It has chosen “Green Future-Smart Technology” which recognizes the need for today’s agriculture to be sustainable in terms of ecology, economy and human resources. It also suggests the way to achieve this is for farmers to use all the available knowledge about interactions of plants and soil, technology and labor to develop appropriate farming systems.
“The new theme was chosen to evoke a number of meanings and moods,” says Marie Servais, Project Manager of Agritechnica. “It not only taps into the idea of agriculture cultivating crops to feed the planet, but will also demonstrate how producers around the world are using clever ideas to drive agriculture forward.
“And, of course, the use of technology is central to today’s farming. New, smarter means of production will play a key role in a more profitable and sustainable future for agriculture,” adds Servais.
World agriculture is suffering from problems relating to resources like water, soil quality and quantity, biodiversity and even labor for the agricultural workforce. In addition, the effects of pest resistance, nutrient losses and climate change continue to accumulate.
Working towards a “green future” means finding solutions that support sustainable farming systems, and that requires farmers to manage their processes in a smarter way. Making the most of new technical developments to support farmers in optimizing their production processes is also important, so “smart technology” will be the key to success.
What are smart technologies?
Smart technologies are not necessarily high-tech, but can simply be ways that help to better organize specific jobs; reduce energy consumption; help protect the soil; optimize nutrient and water use; or help to identify pests and weeds, and treat them very specifically.
Some examples of smart technology at each stage of the crop-production process include:
- Tillage – improved tillage technologies, for example combining tillage with fertilizer application (side dressing); strip till (to combine deep tillage with no-till); and better straw management after harvest.
- Seeding – combining seeding and fertilizing; site specific seed densities; and adaption of cultivar choice to site specific characters.
- Fertilizing – fertilizer planning; soil testing; sensor-based fertilizing; improved spreaders for nutrient allocation.
- Plant protection – forecast models; pest detection (sensors, drones and satellites); drift reduction; reduction of spray rates and single-plant treatment.
- Harvest – reducing harvest losses; detect optimal harvest times (sensors, drones and satellites); improve logistics; and better residue management.
- Software – management systems; field catalogues combined with forecast models or decision support models; and data-management.
- Overall – improve working conditions for farmers.
As the world’s leading farm machinery trade fair, Agritechnica is the platform for the presentation of new developments in agriculture. While these are mainly related to technology, there are also exhibitors offering services and consultancy. Traditionally, Agritechnica always offers a broad technical program including special shows, discussion panels and forums inviting exhibitors and farmers to discuss specific topics with experts. This means the exhibition has the products, experience and know-how to offer smart technologies to support farmers in practicing smart farming for a green future.
A meeting place for Europe’s farmers
And of course, the Green Future-Smart Technology theme not only applies to farmers from Agritechnica’s home country, Germany. It is just as relevant to visitors from other European countries including France. Mixed beef and arable farmer Jean Luc Didier, who is based in Haute Marne, says Agritechnica has become an integral part of his planning.
“It is part of my broader philosophy to see what other farmers are doing, how they work and how I can advance my own business,” he adds. “The fair enables me to see the latest trends and it helps me find and buy the right equipment for the right job. It has such a wide variety of manufacturers and special features.”
Didier is also attracted by the number of smaller specialist manufacturers that regularly exhibit at the show – companies that he says have a high level of technical expertise, and interesting products and services that are not always represented at French shows.
Like most visitors, Didier says he always leaves Agritechnica with the desired information and the right contacts in his pocket. This makes the event an invaluable tool for professional farmers, and is likely to encourage even more French farmers to visit the event this year.