The Czech technology company Agdata participated in the international conference "Science for Smart and Sustainable Agriculture" under the auspices of Minister of Agriculture Zdeněk Nekula on the occasion of the Agrosalon Země Živitelka. The practically conceived contribution of Lukáš Musil and Matěj Pomahač dealt with the challenges facing contemporary agriculture and their effective solutions offered by digitization and precision farming technologies.
The costs of Czech farms and farms have increased significantly in the last year. Fuel by a third. Fertilizers by half to four times depending on the type. Not to mention the price of electricity and gas. The decline in the number and ageing of agricultural workers continued. Agrometeorological fluctuations complicated the establishment of stands and the growth of field crops, this year's drought significantly affected their yields. The European Green Deal and the societal demand for the greening of agriculture have brought not only new subsidy titles, but also a further increase in regulatory obligations and administrative burdens.
Lukáš Musil presented three basic areas of opportunities that "the digitization of agriculture brings at every stage of activity, whether it is planning, controlling or evaluating all work on the company." He presented a specific solution in the form of sophisticated field management connected with smart warehouse management, online map tools and automatic preparation of documents of various agronomic and legal records or internal reports. Tailor-made connections to other enterprise systems reduce administration by up to half, diesel consumption by up to a sixth, and better monitor the economy of enterprises.
"Agdata allows me to operatively manage all field work. Thanks to the weather station, I know whether the weather conditions are suitable for plant protection. The crop in the warehouse is then monitored by a sensor, thanks to which I know that everything is in order. Telematics fully records the use of real-time mechanization'; described in his factual reference the operational benefits of the system agdata client, Jan Bursík from The Domašín Farm.
Precision farming, i.e. the Agdata VARI service, is another domain of the company. Lukáš Musil demonstrated how satellite field monitoring helps to quickly identify problematic places in stands, optimize phytosanitary applications or evaluate the impact of agrotechnical work. He also introduced a special soil sensor providing an overview of the current values of soil nutrients in the form of a supply of nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium, local pH or humidity, temperature, soil conductivity and salinity. It is used to optimize application maps for more targeted fertilizer application and represents an alternative to more expensive and therefore coarser laboratory analyses of soil samples.
The presentation included 3 successful examples of the use of variable application of nitrogen fertilizers.
Pavel Francl's farm in the Vysočina Region tried regenerative fertilization on plots with gap-like winter rapeseed. The application helped to improve and level the stands, which thanks to this achieved the same and on some plots even better yield, as balanced fields fertilized uniformly.
Another example was from the cereal region of the northern Pilsen region when growing winter wheat. Satellite monitoring and variable applications were used for all fertilization with industrial fertilizers (regenerative, production and qualitative). At the beginning of the vegetation, regenerative fertilization was used to level the wheat stands, as well as for later strengthening of better connected places. Total yields were higher by 7-17% compared to plots fertilized uniforms.
The last example of variable applications was presented in the potato production area in the Vlašimsko region. The above-quoted Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Domašín Farm stated that the difference between the fields of winter rapeseed fertilized variably and the fields fertilized in uniform consisted in "the overall leveling of the stands and definitely in the saving of fertilizer, the amount of which was about 25% lower than the uniform plan." Total yields on winter rape then showed a yield increase of 2% while reducing fertilizer costs by the cited 25%, winter wheat showed yields higher by 4.2% while reducing costs by 11%.
Farmers are thus given an effective tool to save on inputs and increase their production to help them cope with difficult times. The key is the social benefit in the form of a more ecological approach to farming in the agricultural landscape. The final discussion concerned the state's support for precision agriculture. It newly proposes a subsidy of about 43.40 Euros per year for each hectare where businesses will be gently and variably fertilized.
Matěj Pomahač, consultant Agdata.cz