National Field Lab for Precision Farming

Precision farming is a management concept giving crops, livestock and the agro-ecological environment the right treatment at the right time, place and intensity, in this way optimizing economical, ecological and social objectives by combining technology with agro-ecology. More and more, sensing, decision making and actuation will be done by AgroRobotica. This would require the technology and knowledge to be used by farmers, however, which is not sufficiently the case currently. The National Field Lab for Precision Farming (abbreviated NPPL in Dutch) aims to change this situation.

The NPPL was established in January 2018 to convince farmers of the added value of precision farming by implementing a number of example cases in practice. Each year, ca. six farmers are invited to participate, and they are then guided and supported up to three years maximum by independent experts to ensure that the bottlenecks they encounter are quickly resolved. Interested farmers can follow the experiences of the six participants on the NPPL website and via demonstrations and meetings at the farms. The Dutch Farmer’s magazine De Boerderij has the lead in communication of the results to the farmer’s via articles on paper and digitally. In addition, the NPPL aims to establish a widely supported national agenda for precision agriculture.

Practical cases

In 2019, ten new farmers started six new practical cases:

This means that a total of 16 farmers are being supported in 12 cases.

WUR experts

The farmers are supported by precision agriculture experts from Wageningen University & Research. Information and communication regarding the progress and the experiences of the farmers in practice is in the hands of Misset, a publisher of magazines such as Boerderij. Boerderij is a major information source for arable farmers and ideal for reaching the substantial target group of potential new users.

The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality is financing the project with over €2 million in four years. Corné Kempenaar, WUR expert in the field of precision agriculture, is project leader.