Why have farmers harvested crops of vegetables, cereals and fruits for generations, but no valuable data? And who owns the data of complex agricultural ecosystems? This is the question Benjamin Bönisch, VP Strategy & Corporate Development, and Dr. Tobias Plötzing, Director Digital Technologies of ETO GRUPPE, discussed at the Digital Farming Conference in May. Their technical lecture, titled "Your Fields. Your Rules. Your Data. – Harvesting Data in Distributed Ecosystems", used the example of innovative products by farmunited to explain how complex technologies may be made accessible to farms of all sizes and how the farmers may benefit.
The annual Digital Farming Conference offers a platform for exchanging information on digital solutions for sustainable agriculture and food production. At this conference, experts meet, from the digital, agricultural and food industry as well as from policy, science and civil society.
Harvesting Data with Innovative Technologies and Digital Solutions
How can you optimize the cultivation of your land? "By collecting, analyzing and using all the data available on the land for optimum cultivation," explained Bönisch in the lecture. This kind of data harvest is made possible by innovative and digital technologies in the area of smart farming. One example is farmsense, an agrarian sensor developed by farmunited and presented to a broad audience for the first time at the conference. The sensor stick which is powered by solar energy and equipped with a radio circuit will be placed in the field to deliver reliable and up-to-date data on the soil and the weather in the field. The pertaining app and the cloud-based platform Ceres will analyze and visualize the data. "Along with the new irrigation valves and pesticide spraying systems by farmunited, the former inovel Systeme AG, the information on the field may then be used to optimize its condition with the perfect dosing," said Bönisch. The result: a more efficient use of resources like water, fertilizers and pesticides, a noticeable easing of the work load, better harvests and higher returns on investment.
Sharing Data Based on Distributed Ledger Technology
But that was not all, by far not, added Plötzing, the Director Digital Technologies of ETO GRUPPE, thus commencing the second part of the lecture. By buying a sensor by farmunited, you would become part of a community. "The data collected are valuable not only to the owners of farmsense," he explained, "but also to other farmers and anybody who analyzes weather and soil data. If and to what extent they may be shared or sold is up to the users to decide. And hence, how much they will benefit." This would be possible due to a fair, digital infrastructure based on Distributed Ledger Technology which ensured secure and, in future, distributed storage of the data.