Evidence Based Farming: the ABC of circular agriculture
Jacob van den Borne has developed in previous years as a specialist in precision agriculture and is co-founder of the Practice Center for
Precision Agriculture (PCvPL), a partnership of ZLTO, Van den Borne
Potatoes, Has Hogeschool, Eindhoven University of Technology and Wageningen UR. In March 2018, the Precision Agriculture Practice Center started with Innovation Groups Precision Agriculture for arable farming, fruit growing, arboriculture, open ground vegetables or other open crops. The main objective of the innovation groups is to provide participants with insight into the various techniques available for precision agriculture and to provide insight into the value of the data so that it can be applied to their own farm.
Meetings at the Practice Center are organized for this purpose three times a year
Precision agriculture organized in which the available knowledge is shared and the participants are introduced to the latest techniques and insights. 80 growers from North Brabant participate in this.
The challenge: from knowledge and technology to implementation in business operations
It is often the farmer himself who is enthusiastic about the possibilities that precision agriculture can offer his company. Based on advice from suppliers, knowledge partners such as
ZLTO and the Practice Center for Precision Agriculture and other entrepreneurs often know how to determine which investments suit their company. The farmer is not yet there with the investments in technology, courses from the suppliers and (having) a soil map and satellite data made.
During the meetings of the Innovation Groups, in addition to demonstrations of the latest techniques, information about various measurement techniques, the meaning of the data and how they can make a soil map have been and will be strengthened. It is also clear that many participants find it difficult to translate into their own business operations.
How does it work on their plot with their crops and equipment?
How can they contribute to circular agriculture, environmental quality and more biodiversity? How does it translate into added value for my products and a decrease in production risk?
Precision farming goes a lot further than the use of smart sensors and the correct interpretation of the data. The introduction of precision agriculture in business operations also requires an adjustment of the working methods. Samples must be taken, categorized and analyzed. Deviations and details must be recorded digitally, on paper or with photos. The information must also be translated into concrete activities and implementation. All land operations must be documented. In practice, a farmer does not work alone. How will he get his employees and / or contractors into the new working method?