Towards data-driven farming

As smart machines and sensors crop up on farms and farm data grows in quantity and scope, farming processes will become increasingly data-driven and data-enabled. In the Internet of Things smart devices - connected to the internet - are controlling the farm system extending conventional tools (e.g. rain gauge, tractor, notebook) by adding context-awareness through all kinds of sensors, built-in intelligence, and the capability to execute autonomous actions or doing this remotely.

It is expected that the role of humans in analysis and planning is increasingly assisted by machines so that this so-called cyber-physical management cycle becomes more autonomous.

IoF2020, with a total budget of M€ 35, will boost this development by fostering a large-scale uptake of IoT in the European farming and food sector. The heart of the project is formed by 19 use-cases in different European regions organized in five trials covering several subsectors such as fruits, dairy, vegetables, meat and arable farming.

Each use-case develops specific IoT solutions bringing together farmers and other end-users with technology providers and research institutes. For example, by optimizing the cultivation and processing of wine by IoT systems and big data analysis or pig production management via on-farm sensors and slaughterhouse data.

Beside technical integration, use-cases are supported in solving governance issues (e.g. on data privacy) and developing suitable business models. In this way IoF2020 will contribute to secure, sufficient, safe and healthy food for European citizens and strengthen the competitiveness of farming and food chains and technology providers.

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Dr. Sjaak Wolfert

Senior Scientist Information Management & ICT in Agri-Food, Wageningen University & Research

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