This project's research activities officially ended in March 2021. Legacy in SmartAgriHubs Portal

Competing potato planting machine builders join forces on Variable Planting

Althoug the aim of IoF2020 has been to discover the possibilities of digitalisation in farming and the potential of that technology, a positive side result of the project has been the many partnerships that have come out of it. The nework that IoF2020 has produced, has led to far going cooperation that has been beneficial for all parties. One of those partnerships is highlighted in the following case.

Potatoes can in theory reach a production of 100 tons/ha; but that is not possible everywhere. In a shady zone the plants get less solar energy and next to the spraying pathways plants get more sun, from aside. On clay it is even more complex: on heavy clay you should plant more seed potatoes per hectare, than in lighter soil types, to get a higher yield. Farmers can thus win an extra percentage of production with extra seed potatoes in full sunlight, next to spray paths and in heavy clay. They can save on seed potatoes when they plant less in the shade or light soil.

In the IoF2020 Use Cases ‘within field management zoning’ and ‘potato data processing exchange’, two innovative potato machinery factories are present: Grimme and AVR. They operate in the same market, with sharp competition. Within IoF2020 they collaborate in a common development of task maps, machine communication, and standards for Variable Planting.

I think there are two reasons for this unique cooperation.

Practical advantage of the open standard is as follows: farmers can have confidence in the new technique. They will adopt Variable Plating more easily when they can expect a reliable operation, independent of which machine is used. With a better uptake, the investment in innovation is more profitable (because of cost reduction).

A second reason for this collaboration, is the chance to exchange thoughts with partners in the supply chain and to get support from research, such as Wageningen Plant Science and ILVO.

A third reason was certainly the open atmosphere in IoF2020 and SmartAgriHubs. In Prague and in the Use Case meetings, personal relations grow, because challenges and motivation to tackle them are shared.

Moral of the story: innovation grows like potatoes: adapted to circumstances and in good breeding ground.


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Peter Paree
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