Posts Tagged ‘precision farming’
We have a vision to change the future of farming. In 2013, we planted the seed for a Future Farm and training center to empower the world’s farmers with education, training and technology. This month, the first AGCO Future Farm officially opens in Zambia. The state-of-the-art facility includes a mechanized solutions center, a grain and poultry learning center, and training programs focused on products, machines, business management and farming best practices.
AGCO has a strong commitment to agriculture in Africa. The Republic of Zambia is landlocked, bordered by eight neighboring countries. Its central location coupled with an economic focus on farming (agriculture accounts for 21.5 percent of the nation’s GDP) makes Zambia an ideal place for AGCO’s Future Farm prototype.
The Future Farm concept will develop a sustainable food production system that is able to increase farm output by utilizing Africa’s agricultural resources more efficiently. The Zambia center will facilitate agricultural support services to enable knowledge and increase food production on other area farms.
And Future Farm Zambia is more than just a training facility—it’s also a working farm. In 2015, 70.22 hectares were planted with maize, soybeans, sunflowers, sun hemp and other crops. The farm’s expected yields this year include 7.5 tonnes/hectare of maize and 1.4 tonnes/hectare of soybeans.
In addition to area farmers, local organizations will benefit from the Future Farm as well. AGCO Zambia has supported the Chikumbuso Women and Orphans Project in Lusaka, which provides free education for children, adult training and community building programs. The Future Farm donates soybeans and maize to help the project’s feeding program and kitchen enterprise.
In addition, AGCO Zambia supports the Chalimbana Youth project in partnership with the Africa 4H Council and Future Farm Partners. As part of this project, younger children learn agricultural practices and grow food for their families through an Enterprise Garden, and older participants learn to start and sustain small agro-enterprises through an entrepreneurship group.
The AGCO Future Farm project has the potential to have a significant impact through a range of agricultural solutions, such as crop protection, precision farming, seeding and fertilizing, and strong partnerships will be key to its success. Additional Future Farms partners include AquaCheck, Bayer Crop Science, Harper Adams University, Musika, GCS Water Management, Seedco, University of Zambia, Valley and Yara.
“I believe we have a unique opportunity to develop a new vision for how small, medium, and large-scale farmers can develop not just in Zambia, but throughout the region,” said Mark Briggs, director of Precision Decisions Zambia Limited and also Co-Chair for the Future Farm Partners Steering Committee. “The idea of having a group of experts, not just from the manufacturing sector but also service sectors, engaged in developing products and services, offering training to farm workers, managers and, indeed, individuals working in the broader agricultural arena, is very exciting.”
What does the future hold for the Future Farm? Stay tuned to our blog or follow @AGCOcorp on Twitter for updates from Zambia and other AGCO initiatives around the world.
By Carla Gasparin
Partnerships through connectivity solutions, and utilizing industry standards, are key enablers for today’s farmers. With Fuse®, AGCO is pioneering an open approach to precision farming built on adherence to industry data standards and a growing list of partnerships. Fuse is AGCO’s precision farming and precision machine management strategy that allows farmers freedom and flexibility in their choices of machinery, farm management and agronomy software, and service providers – while providing unique solutions for managing their valuable data.
A rapidly growing area of machine technology is remote connectivity, with solutions integrated into products that communicate equipment performance information and wirelessly send agronomic (task) information from the field to the office and from the office to the field. In order to preplan, manage and analyze agronomic data, AGCO offers the wireless transfer of task data from the machine terminal to the office computer through a unique data pipe, separate from raw machine data. AGCO recognizes and respects customers’ data privacy rights and acknowledges that all equipment and crop data generated during a grower’s operation belongs to the grower. An AGCO customer can choose between task and fleet management products and data paths to wirelessly transfer operational information:
- AgCommand®, AGCO’s telematic machine and fleet monitoring system, captures and wirelessly transfers equipment status, location and performance data to a unique user interface used by farmers and AGCO dealers to provide machine optimization, performance monitoring and machine uptime. Customers and dealers can access data through the AgCommand website and app on an iOS smart device. Telemetry focuses on keeping equipment in the field and ensuring the machine is optimized for the best performance. Focusing on minimizing downtime, AGCO uses technology to make sure farm equipment is not only continually moving, but also running optimized. Products that are never idle and providing the current status is the target. We develop solutions that help farmers to understand where his/her pieces of equipment are, and let him/her knows what operations it is doing.
- Task data management is possible with a wide selection of AGCO’s partner Farm Management Information Systems including FarmWorks, Claas Agrocom Net, Helm, BASF and Land-Data Eurosoft AgrarOffice. Since 2010 the VarioDoc/TaskDoc offering from AGCO has been based on the ISO 11783-10 standard. AGCO’s task management solutions include wireless transfer of crop data in the form of work orders and work records. This can be done through an exchange server directly from a machine terminal through cellular connection or Bluetooth. AGCO is not locked into a single service provider or FMIS. We are the connectivity partner between the farmers and service providers, so our customers are free to choose which trusted advisors he/she wants to work with. It is important we offer capabilities that link service providers with our customers, more specifically to business data and field operations. It is important to respect customers’ choices, and let them to choose their service providers.
We in AGCO recognize that task and fleet management data are important information that should be handled differently. We want to make sure the farmers are connected to each step of the crop cycle, and also connected to AGCO dealers and service providers. The data collected in one operation can be used to create information that will be used in the next operation, from planning and planting, to growing, harvesting and storage. Fuse Technologies address each step of the growing cycle, focusing on adding new technologies on all AGCO equipment.
Carla Gasparin is a Manager for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, working in Product Management for Global Off-board Technologies for Fuse Technologies.
By Ben Craker
It is hard to read through any farming magazines without seeing an article about new technology or how big data is driving the next revolution in agriculture. The period we are in now is often described as a hinge point where the market will fundamentally shift as the result of new disruptive technology. The information age of farming is upon us with new players in the ag sector from places like Silicon Valley. The machines farmers use to grow the food and fiber to feed the world are advancing at a pace like never before with new technologies seeming to be announced almost daily. This change in the industry is what led AGCO to develop FuseTM Technologies, our next generation approach to precision agriculture.
A key focus of the Fuse strategy is partnering with industry leading companies. AGCO has a history of working with leading technology companies to integrate advanced technology components and features into our equipment. Examples include Raven rate and section control products on RoGators and TerraGators, Beeline for the original Auto-Guide system, Topcon in more recent years for machine guidance, terminals, and telematics. The Fuse strategy formalizes the partnering process and provides direction for how AGCO will partner with tech companies. This allows AGCO to focus on the development of the machine and a few core features, while still integrating best in class technology from innovators and leaders in the industry.
One of the most exciting developments in the partnering strategy has been the recent formation of the Intelligent Agricultural Solutions (IAS) joint venture with Appareo. This unique to the industry partnership will provide AGCO direct access to a leading technology company to help in the development of advanced sensors and communications while helping to fuel future research and development. The capabilities of the IAS team and their passion for creating new technologies that will fundamentally change the precision farming industry are very exciting and work has already begun on some truly innovative ideas.
AGCO is also participating in Farm2050 with companies like Google, DuPont and Flextronics to help AgTech startups get access to capital, design, manufacturing, distribution and general industry knowledge to bring new technologies to the market to help meet the world’s growing demand for food and fiber. The mission of the group is to enable new startups to quickly get to market and really accelerate technology in the ag industry. Farm2050 is a little different than the traditional venture capital group in that the participants are providing something other than just funding to the startups – companies like AGCO are providing agriculture industry expertise. AGCO’s participation in this group is a great example of how we are looking for the next generation of technology to integrate into our machines as part of the Fuse strategy.
Participation in industry organizations is also a good example of how the Fuse open approach and partnering strategy is benefiting the industry. Through groups like the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) and AgGateway, AGCO is playing an active role in making farmers’ lives easier. AGCO employees have worked alongside employees from some of our fiercest competitors to standardize machine to machine communication through the ISO11783 standard. Since the original roll out of the standard and introduction of ISOBUS equipment the group has continued to improve on the standard and will be launching additional tools at the SIMA show in France at the end of the month, delivering independent verification of functionalities within the ISO11783 standard.
Similar work is going on within the AgGateway group where people from a wide variety of companies involved in the ag industry, from seed and chemical companies to software providers and ag retailers, have come together to help advance eBusiness in agriculture. A key part of that is making sure everyone is speaking the same language. The AgGateway Precision Ag Council, of which AGCO is an active member, is building on the ISO11783 standard to help make it easier for famers to manage all the data they log on their machines or create in a Farm Information Management System (FMIS). Today almost any grower can tell you about the difficulties of getting one brand to talk to another or trying to coordinate information between different FMIS platforms. Later this year AgGateway plans to roll out a tool to help streamline this process and enable growers to really start creating meaningful information they can use to drive fact based decisions in their precision farming operations.
So whether is it is leveraging long standing partnerships with precision farming companies, looking for new innovative technologies to integrate into AGCO machines or participating with groups working to standardize the data flow in the precision agriculture world, it is an exciting time to be involved in precision agriculture. By focusing on partnerships and openness, in addition to its own technological advancements, AGCO is positioned to be a leader in the greatest advancement in agriculture since the introduction of the internal combustion engine.
To learn more about the Fuse strategy, and read our latest news and announcements, visit agcotechnologies.com.
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.
By Vic Rexroade
Released in 2010, AGCO’s AgCommand® solution has been a leading edge farm equipment data recording tool that helps users optimize fleet performance, monitor operating costs and generate reports. Since AgCommand’s release and adoption into the telematics market we have learned a lot from AgCommand’s utilization in the ag industry from our users and dealers. AgCommand is an ever evolving product, and expanding on what we’ve heard from our user base, this past November we released more updates to the website and mobile app.
The current challenge to gathering so much data from an advanced piece of AGCO equipment is how we interpret this data and make it more user friendly. Our solution to this in our November update was to renovate and simplify the user interface in the AgCommand website and mobile app to help each look and feel more appealing to our AgCommand users. We also implemented an automatic Weekly Status Report that will deliver to users a quick snapshot of vehicle productivity, performance, and maintenance. We have also restructured a few of our reports to help users understand data coming from the machine more clearly. By leveraging AGCO’s strength and experience in telematics, we can help our customers optimize their entire fleet and operation, even if they can’t be on site with every machine 24/7.
Be on the lookout for more exciting AgCommand updates in 2015, which will feature enhanced dealer capabilities to better serve our customers’ needs for uptime and efficiency.
To learn more about FuseTM Technologies, visit www.agcotechnologies.com.
Vic Rexroade is a Senior Product Management Specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on Telematics and Data for Fuse Technologies.
A Delegation of Chinese agricultural and engineering representatives recently toured AGCO Australia’s Sunshine distribution and corporate offices.
The study tour focused on the promotion of shared innovation and farming practices as China moves towards modernising its agriculture sector while balancing environmental and population challenges.
A vital industry in China, agriculture employs a staggering 300,000 million farmers – roughly 21% of its population, with a history stretching well into China’s ancient past. Rice has been cultivated in China for 7,700 years making it one of the oldest agrarian civilisations.
More contemporarily, China ranks highly in worldwide production of rice, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, cotton, oil seed, pork and fish. Accounting for 10 percent of arable land worldwide, China produces food for 20 percent of the world’s population – that’s 1.4 billion people.
Having also visited Europe and North America, the group were interested in analysing case studies of AGCO products that illustrate the real world benefits new technologies have had on farming operations in Australia and the adoption rate amongst local farmers.
China’s agricultural sector is large but also one of the least efficient in the world. The study group’s main focus was on farming methods that will help drive change in traditional methods.
The representatives came from a variety of regions in China, keen on gathering strong evidence of the benefits of different farming practices and their potential to transform traditional techniques, helping China forge ahead with modernisation while mitigating the worst effects of air and water pollution.
Emission reduction technologies and fuel efficient machinery were of particular interest to the delegation as China increases mechanisation of agriculture.
The contrast with Australia’s agricultural sector could not be starker. As a country with a small population, agriculture in Australia employs 307,000 people – that’s 1% of its population. The majority of farm output is destined for offshore markets with Australia ranking 5th in global wheat exporters.
The potential for improvements in Chinese farming practices is enormous and could have huge benefits for not only for China but also the world, as future food scarcity looms as a potential threat to the global population.
It is hoped that these experiences will help Chinese agricultural specialists and policy makers compare global agricultural practices and adapt new technologies to Chinese farming conditions.