Smart Farming and agri-robotics could play an important role in making the agriculture sector more sustainable, but only if farmers actually adopt the new technologies. This is currently not happening enough. The National Smart Farming Pilot Project (NPPL) has been established to change this situation.
The goal of the NPPL project is to convince farmers of the added value of smart farming by implementing a number of demonstration cases on working arable farms. Six farmers will be selected each year to take part in this smart farming project. They will be supervised and supported throughout the year and any bottlenecks they encounter will be resolved as quickly as possible. Interested farmers can follow the experiences of the six participating colleagues on the website www.proeftuinprecisielandbouw.nl and they can also attend demonstrations and meetings at the pilot farms. NPPL also aims to establish and foster wide support for a National Smart Farming Agenda.
Six practical cases in 2018
- site-specific and variable application of lime and/or organic matter based on soil scans
- site-specific and variable application of soil active herbicides depending on soil lutum and organic matter contents
- site-specific and variable planting of potatoes depending on lutum soil scans
- site-specific and variable application of foliar active herbicides based on a vegetation index (optionally with additional, variable doses of anti-Phytophthora fungicides)
- site-specific application of nitrogen fertiliser in potato crops
- site-specific control of nematodes using granulate, based on field samples and advice
Six new farmers and six new practical cases will be selected every year for a period of four years.
The farmers will be supervised by smart farming experts from Wageningen University & Research. ProAgrica, a division of ReedBusiness (publisher of the leading Dutch farming magazine Boerderij), will be responsible for PR and communication on the progress and experiences of the participating farmers. Boerderij is an important source of information for arable farmers and it is the ideal medium with which to reach the large group of potential users of precision farming methods.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries is funding this project with more than €2 million over the four-year period. Corné Kempenaar, WUR expert on smart farming, is the project leader.