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The Role of Precision Farming in Meeting the 2050 Food Challenge

By Amanda Wemette

Several recent news stories have highlighted a sobering statistic that global food production must increase 50-70 percent by the year 2050 to feed a projected population of 9 billion people[1]. From tech firms and tech investment firms, to governments and a recent book entitled The End of Plenty, the public is beginning to rally behind an issue long familiar to those in the agriculture industry – we must do more with the land we have.

We must do more with the land we have. Source: 2013 Iron Solutions, Inc.

We must do more with the land we have. Source: 2013 Iron Solutions, Inc.

 

Around this subject, popular topics often include:

  • The usage of fertilizers
    and pesticides
  • Water usage
    and conservation
  • GMOs
  • Organics
  • Big Data
  • And more

 

Yet precision farming technology is often conspicuously absent in these discussions about how technology will help the planet become more productive. Those in the food and fiber production industries know technology plays a critical role in the future of agriculture. Diamond V®, an all-natural animal food manufacturer, cites “…food production must be the world’s new high-tech industry. An estimated 70 percent of the future increases in food production capacity need to come from new and improved agricultural technologies.[2]” A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group also confirms the importance of precision farming for the future of agriculture.

Precision farming technology helps growers maximize productivity and increase uptime. It’s about increasing yields and reducing inputs through careful monitoring and optimization. Companies like AGCO have identified precision agriculture products and services as critical components for business success, and—more importantly—for successfully feeding the world. AGCO reaffirmed this mission with the launch of Fuse® Technologies in 2013.

Trends that will shape crop farming through 2030

Trends that will shape crop farming through 2030 (Click to view larger)

Farm technology today is addressing pressing concerns such as labor shortages and environmental factors.  For example, automatic guidance helps growers reduce overlaps and skips in the field, helps reduce operator fatigue and enables longer working hours. Telemetry and fleet monitoring help farmers optimize their machines and their operation as a whole. Downtime is reduced through logistics coordination and by carefully monitoring machine health. Growers can work smarter, not harder to grow more with what they have.

Guidance and telemetry are just two among many solutions available to farmers today that help them to be more productive. There are numerous solutions currently available, and future capabilities are limitless, especially as Silicon Valley and tech investment firms take notice. AGCO is thinking beyond more traditional opportunities too. The company is a proud partner in the Farm2050 initiative, which is dedicated to advancing the future of food through supporting AgTech entrepreneurs and startups. AGCO is also working to increase agricultural production in previously under-utilized lands, leading with the Future Farm opening in Africa, which includes precision farming offerings.

Advancing precision farming technology not only leads to increased efficiencies – it also leads to increased sustainability by reducing waste. For example, farmers apply fertilizers and pesticides in a purposeful manner based on crop need, instead of uniformly spraying an entire field.

There is no “silver bullet” to solve our agricultural challenges. Precision farming solutions are but one component of a very complex system, and should be included in the broader discussion as the public, the media and the technology sector take an interest in the challenge to feed our world.

 

Amanda Wemette is a digital marketing specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on delivering the Fuse Technologies message to customers, dealers, employees and investors. Connect with Amanda on Twitter @AmandaWemette.

 

[1]  According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

[2]  http://www.diamondv.com/about/who-we-are/

Fuse® Technologies at the Future Farm opening in Zambia

By Dr. Bernhard Schmitz

AGCO’s Fuse® Technologies strategy and precision farming products were presented during the recent Future Farm opening in Zambia. Visitors learned about AGCO’s technology offerings that are currently available for the future farm:

  • All technology enabled machines were equipped with Auto-GuideTM
  • All technology enabled machines were equipped with AGCO’s telemetry system, AgCommand®.
  • The open approach of the Fuse strategy was perfectly demonstrated with the presence of Precision Decision next to the Fuse tent. Precision Decision offers services around precision agriculture such as soil sampling.
AGCO’s Fuse<sup>®</sup> Technologies strategy and precision farming products were presented during the recent Future Farm opening in Zambia.

AGCO’s Fuse® Technologies strategy and precision farming products were presented during the recent Future Farm opening in Zambia.

The Future Farm perfectly showcases AGCO’s open approach by exemplifying how different agricultural business partners are brought together to connect and demonstrate the best farming practices for Africa.

To follow the latest updates about the Future Farm, connect with @AGCOcorp on Twitter and follow the hashtags #FutureFarm and #AGCOAfrica.

 

Dr. Bernhard Schmitz is a Commercial Manager for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on Fuse precision farming products for the EAME region.

AGCO engineers from around the globe participate in Plugfest to improve interoperability of precision equipment and data

By Ben Craker

AGCO engineers from around the globe recently participated in the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) spring Plugfest in Lincoln, Nebraska. The annual event brings together tractor, terminal, and implement manufacturers from around the globe to test compatibility with each other under the ISO11783 standard for agricultural machine communications. Participants at Plugfest bring the terminals and Electronic Control Units (ECU) used in their machinery to test compatibly with other manufacturers. Historically there have been slight differences in interpretation of the ISO11783 standard between companies, sometimes resulting in incompatibilities. The event gives ag equipment manufacturers a chance to test with many different manufactures in one location to identify any issues.

Plugfest 2015

AGCO engineers from around the globe recently participated in the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) spring Plugfest in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The recent launch of the AEF ISOBUS Database website earlier this year at the SIMA show in France has given additional structure to the ISO11783 standard. Manufacturers that participate in the ISOBUS database must have their software and hardware conformance tested by independent third party test labs to verify adherence to the standards. The overall ISO11783 standard has been broken down into multiple, different functionality tests ranging from universal terminal support to automatic section control and georeferenced data logging. Using the database, farmers are able to select from machinery that has been conformance tested to see what functionalities will work with various different tractor and implement combinations.

In addition to the Plugfest event, several meetings took place during the week. The AEF organization is broken up into multiple different working groups, each with their own teams focused on specific projects. The working groups are composed of members from many different manufactures from all over the world; the event gives them an opportunity to meet face to face and work on their areas of focus. This year also saw a meeting between the AEF working group focused on Farm Management Information System (FMIS) communication and the AgGateway SPADE and ADAPT teams. The two groups identified areas where they can collaborate – minimizing the duplication of effort – while working toward better communication between manufactures to simplify the process of moving farmers’ data between different machines and software.

AGCO’s involvement in organizations like AgGateway and AEF and participation at events like Plugfest are examples of the Fuse® Technologies open approach and mixed fleet focus. These groups are continuously working so that precision farming technology will be easier to use when a grower has multiple brands of equipment. The work done by engineers and other personnel from AGCO and other companies moves the entire industry forward toward a goal of interoperability of precision equipment and data.

 

Ben Craker is a Manager for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on Global Partnerships and Standards for Fuse Technologies. Connect with Ben on Twitter @crakerb.

Technology an important part of Agrishow 2015

By Rafael Antonio Costa

For the first time in 22 editions, Agrishow – one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive agricultural technology trade shows – saw a decline in total sales volume over the previous year (1.8 billion in business). According to show organizers, high interest rates and political/economic uncertainty were responsible for the loss of business. Yet despite the downturn, the show was still exciting for AGCO customers, with two AGCO brands (Massey Ferguson and Valtra) bringing new launches to the show:

Valtra

  • Sugar Cane Harvester (BE1035e)
  • New rotary combine class 6 (BC6800)

Massey Ferguson:

  • New rotary combine class 6 (BC6800)
  • Planter Fertilizer (MF 700 CS)
Inside the “war room” at the AGCO Ribeirão factory

Inside the “war room” at the AGCO Ribeirão factory

Technology played an important role at both stands, especially at Valtra for the new sugar cane harvester launch, including:

  • Automatic guidance through Auto-GuideTM 3000 – critical to a sugar cane harvesting operation, and comes standard.
  • AgCommand® – also comes standard, and enables dealers to monitor the sugar cane harvesters for their customers (with their permission).

The new harvesting machines will have a tracking service included as part of the AgCommand technology, which will allow the AGCO Ribeirão factory to better support the first machines in the field and ensure our customers have the machines working at the maximum efficiency possible – a key component of the Fuse strategy.

Inside the “war room” at the AGCO Ribeirão factory

Inside the “war room” at the AGCO Ribeirão factory

A “war room” was assembled at the factory site to support the 35 machines forecasted to be produced this year. In the war room, specialists track the status of the sugar cane harvesters sold with AgCommand® installed. The room counts on a 42’’ TV and a workbench with the Auto-GuideTM 3000 system installed, to speed and facilitate technical support.

 

To see photos from Agrishow 2015, visit our Facebook album.

To learn more about Fuse, visit http://www.agcotechnologies.com/.

 

Rafael Antonio Costa is a Product Marketing Manager for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group in South America. He is based in Mogi das Cruzes, Sao Paulo.

 

AGCO Australia hosts the Next Generation of Agriculture Leaders

As innovation in precision farming becomes increasingly important to Australian and New Zealand farming practices, the latest innovations in guidance technology are vital in any young graduate’s university curriculum.

With Fuse Technologies at the forefront of this innovation, AGCO Australia recently played host to a group of Bachelor of Business (Agribusiness) students from Geelong’s Marcus Oldham College.

Students were taken through a detailed information session by Advanced Technologies Product Manager Jeremy Duniam, followed by a question and answer session and a chance to take a closer look at some of the other exciting AGCO products.

Marcus-Oldham Fuse Technologies

Marcus Oldham students during their Fuse Technologies presentation.

 

Accompanying the students, Senior Lecturer Des Umbers said that it was vital graduates are exposed to advancements in on and off farm technologies to prepare them for best practice farming methods.

“Agribusiness courses can’t afford to have students graduate without an understanding of the latest technologies and innovations. It will help them in the future if they intend to work at large corporate farms or their own operations as well as help the older generation of farmers adapt,” says Des Umbers

Attending the visit was Marcus Oldham student Alex Baum already has a strong interest in precision farming. His family operates an 18,000 acre property in Western Australia and applies no-till “tram lining”  to help reduce input costs and make fertiliser application more efficient.

“I am passionate about precision farming, it is really important on the farm as we try to save on inputs where we can. We need to add significant amounts of fertilizer – reducing those costs with efficient application is really important,” says Alex Baum.

AGCO Broad Acre manager Fergal Meehan was impressed by the quality of the student group and their positive attitude, seeing a bright future for the next generation of farm managers, contractors and consultants.

“It is great to see such an enthusiastic group embarking on a career in agriculture keen to learn about exciting advancements in precision farming. It was also a great opportunity for AGCO to showcase our industry leading technology to the next generation of agriculture leaders,” says Fergal Meehan.

IMG_9174_SM

Marcus Oldham College students visit AGCO Australia

 

 

 

 

 

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