Opportunities for Precision Agriculture in Serbia

Tagarakis, A.C.; van Evert, F.K.; Kempenaar, C.; Ljubicic, N.; Milic, D.; Crnojevic-Bengin, V.; Crnojevic, V.


The aim of this paper is to analyze the factors leading to low adoption rate of precision farming in Serbia and to describe steps being taken by BioSense institute to increase it. The majority of the arable land in Serbia is grown by small family owned and operated farms most of which are in the range of 2 to 5 ha making them highly unsustainable. Only 16% of the arable land is managed by agricultural companies and cooperatives. We believe that the adoption of advanced technologies with the currently available precision farming solutions is low among the small farmers due to the small size of the agricultural fields and their inability to invest in technologies. Therefore BioSense institute aims to develop low cost, easy to use precision farming solutions that can be applied anywhere regardless of size, the type and age of agricultural machinery used by the farmers and make IT an important tool to drive small farms towards sustainability. With the new applications developed by BioSense all farmers, even small, can benefit from the diffusion of IT into agriculture making precision farming widely accepted in the years to come. In the framework of the “Digital Agriculture of Serbia” program, several technologies are being developed in the areas of nano and microelectronic in-situ sensors, robotic platforms, genotyping/phenotypic, remote sensing (UAS, satellites), internet of things (IoT), and big data analytics as a means to create new information and extract new knowledge that is not otherwise available. A web-based and android-based digital platform named “AgroSense” was recently released for public use and got widely accepted with a large number of large, medium and small farmers registering to the system. The platform brings the benefits of IT to the end users providing free and paid tools (for advanced users) for better decision making. It is also an excellent tool for big data collection that will create new agronomic knowledge. We foresee a great potential for advancing and modernizing farming in Serbia leading towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.