AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018: Precision Planting To Increase Yields & Profits

Home to more than half of the world’s unused arable land, Africa is quickly becoming the food basket to the world. Join the AGCO Africa Crop Tour to see how.

AGCO Africa Crop Tour: Better Farmer, Practice, Yields and Profitability
September 20, 2018 by AGCO

AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018: Precision Planting To Increase Yields & Profits

Home to more than half of the world’s unused arable land, Africa is quickly becoming the food basket to the world. Join the AGCO Africa Crop Tour to see how.

Agriculture in Africa remains a huge potential still waiting to be fully maximized. Africa is home to more than half of the world’s unused arable land, but the continent remains food insecure, with millions of people experiencing chronic hunger and famine. Given the amount of investment, research, technology and innovation geared towards the sector in Africa, the region is becoming the food basket for the world.

AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018: Sunflower Downforce and Deltaforce study

Farmers join the AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018 team to study the downforce and deltaforce effects on sunflowers.

The increasing growth in the population of Africa increases the demand for food and thus, a call for crop growers to increase their crop yields in order to generate higher profits. These phrases “increase in crop yields” and “higher profits” are key determining factors for crop producers across the globe, including Africa.

Being a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural equipment, AGCO is actively ensuring that Africa is food secured while feeding the world.

In fulfilling its mandate of providing high-tech solutions for farmers feeding the world and the commitment to run Africa from Africa, AGCO opened up the Future Farm in Zambia, initiated the junior management in agribusiness programme, opened the AGCO Africa head office in Johannesburg, South Africa; develop holistic innovations and now, the Africa Crop Tour 2018.

Following the announcement made in March 2018, about AGCO, Precision Planting, and Cerealis Crop Tour event, the awaited Africa Crop Tour 2018 took place at the Derby, North West-Province of South Africa in June 2018.

Finding ways to improve crop yields

In the field analyzing corn and sunflower crops to better understand the role of agricultural equipment and precision farming technology to maximize yields.

“…crop growers can better understand the role of agricultural equipment and precision farming in optimizing crop production systems in Africa”

The Crop Tour is one of the many unique initiatives aimed at finding ways to improve crop yields using new innovative agricultural machinery solutions on test farms throughout the world. The 2018 Africa Crop Tour experimented with corn and sunflower using a Massey Ferguson MF 9812 – 12 row precision planter. This field demonstration analyzed how crop growers can better understand the role of agricultural equipment and precision farming in optimizing crop production systems in Africa, using South Africa as a case study.

 

Digging plants in South Africa in our downforce plots

Digging plants in South Africa in our downforce plots. DeltaForce is improving yield in corn by 900 kg/Ha due to better root development (Image 1 – corn roots left – Automatic Deltaforce) over heavy row unit downforce (Image 1 – corn roots right). Similar story in Sunflowers related to root development (Image 2 – left Automatic Downforce Sunflower roots vs. Heavy Downforce Sunflower Roots).

Earlier to the Africa Crop Tour, the technology have been tested in the United States and Russia, with upcoming crop trials in Germany, Switzerland, and the Ukraine. Darren Goebel, Director of Global Agronomy and Farm Solutions at AGCO Corporation facilitated the demonstration in collaboration with Cerealis, an AGCO dealer and precision planting equipment distributor. During the on-farm demonstration, the MF 9812 – 12 row precision planter metered both corn and sunflower consistently, singulating seed with 96+% accuracy and corn with 99% accuracy. It also performed various forms of seedbed preparation, strip tillage, banding fertilizer, and variable rate practices.

Optimizing the Environment for Plant and Soil with the Right Machinery

The MF 9812 – 12 row precision planter showed the existing difference between using a 900 kg/ha planter equipped with heavy-duty downforce strings compared to automatic Deltaforce down pressure in the hand harvested. This complements Darren’s point that finding the right machinery for farm operations has a proven impact on yield because every piece of equipment selected is based on attributes that optimize the environment for plant and soil.

AGCO Africa Crop Tour: An MF 9812 12 row precision planter in action

AGCO Africa Crop Tour: An MF 9812 12 row precision planter in action.

Reflecting on the fact that farmers across the globe pay very close attention to the hybrids, fertilizers, and crop protection products selected. This same close attention is required for tillage, planting, and application of equipment used by farmers because making sure the machinery did its job as precisely as possible has a big effect on the yield outcome. In today’s farming practices, paying attention to meter by meter is the definition of precision farming and small-scale farmers that are farming small plots of land are the epitome of precision agriculturalists.

Accurate seeding results in increased yield

Accurate seed spacing with Massey Ferguson machinery equipped with Precision Planting technology results in better growth and increased yield

“…Africa can benefit much more from precision technology than other locations around the world”

The initial results from the hand harvest tests conducted show that Africa can benefit much more from precision technology than other locations around the world. The results from harvesting and publishing yield from the Africa trials is scheduled to hold later this year to see how the comparison is done.

See the results from the two-year trials at https://myfarmlife.com/category/agco-exclusive-resources/white-papers/.

Data from the Crop Tour emphasized the current trends in agronomic practices in Africa as an enabler for AGCO to rethink some of the product offering for the region as exciting new products are already in the pipeline. This initiative will help to attract youths to the sector and ensure good stewards of the land in a sustainable manner.

AGCO Africa Crop Tour data is influencing new products which are already being developed

AGCO Africa Crop Tour data is influencing new products which are already being developed.

The Crop Tour displayed a trial that allows all farmers to experiment and test their current practices compared to new ideas. The learning process ascertained that the best laboratory is the field where the farmer makes their living while agriculture continues to improve by testing new ideas and implementing proven best practices. To further establish a true representation of the environmental and ecological conditions within Africa, the Crop Tour is expected to extend to another four to five locations within the coming years.

Interested in Being Part of the Next AGCO Africa Crop Tour?

To ensure proper planning for this upcoming planting season’s crop tour, growers who are interested in testing on their farm, are invited to talk to their AGCO dealer soon or subscribe to http://blog.agcocorp.com/2018/03/agco-global-crop-tour-2018/ for updates.

If you have machine related agronomic ideas, we’d love to hear those as well. Some of the best ideas come from farmers who make feeding the world a great profession to be a part of. Be on the lookout for the Crop Tour video that will be released later in the year.

Check out some additional photos and videos from the AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018:

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