The realities of our industry like population growth, limited arable acres, weather patterns and environmental regulations are all pointing us towards the adoption of new digital technologies. Because most of our farmers are already operating on thin margins and working capital—while having to face those environmental realities—they will not have a choice other than making data-driven decisions if they want to keep up with demand while remaining profitable. They need to be more efficient and more productive if they are to be sustainable.
With the exception of maybe technology leapfrogging, technological advancements often seem to outpace the infrastructure required to support it – on the farm and across many industries. The recent Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act was an exciting development for the agriculture industry and is a critical step towards investing in the rural infrastructure that will be required by our farmers to keep feeding the world. It is also incumbent on ag equipment manufacturers to keep pace with technology and provide solutions that enable – not restrict – growers.
Digitizing the Farm
Manufacturers will have to shift towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to collect and analyze a substantial amount of historical and real-time data: from different layers like yield, soil moisture, soil make, as planted, as applied data, weather and so on; and through trending analysis and self-learning algorithms being able to make recommendations or on-the-go adjustments to minimize input and maximize output.
That same digital revolution will accelerate the introduction of robotics and will have the greatest impact on agriculture. The combination of access to accurate GPS guidance and real-time collection of machine data through reliable sensor technologies will accelerate the development of driverless autonomous farm equipment. That will have an impact not only on our North American market but also in less mechanized areas of the world. Machines will become smaller and more autonomous requiring less capital investment.
The combination of edge computing and sensor technology with the help of AI will allow the machines to self-learn and make adjustments on the go based on real-time data analysis.
Capitalizing on Existing Tech
Mobile technology has been highly adopted in the consumer markets. Most of us manage our daily lives with a smart phone or tablet. Our industry needs to continue to leverage those platforms in the way we interact with our customers and how we allow them to access our technologies.
Many such applications already exist like our partner DigiFarm’s virtual base network RTK correction service, provided through a Bluetooth device paired with an iPhone. AGCO’s AgCommand® and our partner Farmobile’s telematics solutions are accessible through an app loaded on your smartphone allowing access to your entire fleet’s machine and agronomic data. We are seeing a fast transition from radio broadcast solutions to internet solutions leveraging consumers’ smartphone and tablet data plans. You can see that with RTK accuracy solutions and Machine to Machine communication.
Leading the Way
The new AGCO IDEAL combine will come with the IDEALharvest™ feature which adjusts the working combine automatically through the SmartConnect™ app, via multiple sensors, to achieve optimum machine performance and efficiency at all times.
Fendt’s new Xaver system uses small robot units operating in swarms and a cloud solution to plan, monitor and accurately document the precise planting of corn. Satellite and data management in the cloud allows navigation around the clock operations, with permanent access to all data. The exact position and sowing time of each seed is accurately recorded. Planning for the required field—for seeds, seed patterns and density—is carried out via the Xaver app. The intelligent OptiVisor algorithm plans the robot’s deployment based on the entered parameters, and calculates the optimal paths for the units involved and the time required for completion of the job. Software updates for the system can be downloaded “over the air”, just as a remote diagnostic can be run conveniently and location-independent via the smart device.
AGCO’s Fuse® strategy has been driving its product development around four pillars covering the topics just discussed: open approach, mixed fleet, data privacy and mobile technology. Those pillars are key enablers of our ability to drive further adoption of our Fuse technologies embedded into our products and to provide value to our farmers.
During January I had the very great privilege of attending two excellent, and eye-opening, technology events: the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and AGCO’s iVenture Summit in Berlin. In some ways, the events couldn’t have been more different—CES has 170,000 attendees each year and is focused on consumer technology, while iVenture had 300 ag industry leaders focused on ag technologies—but there was a lot of thematic overlap, and a lot to take away from each for AGCO.
Internet of Everything
CES was interesting because there was much more focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and autonomy than in the past, with much less emphasis on certain other business segments like drones and video. Also interesting was how the AI, IoT, and autonomy business segments are starting to blur together as technology from each is becoming more and more important to the value proposition of the others. The output of these segments is also starting to blur the edges of application in different industries. From automotive, to trucking, to mining, to home appliances, and agriculture, we are all facing similar challenges of how to pull value from these promising technologies. Some estimates put the number of tracked objects in the IoT at over a billion in 2 years, so it seems we are all in this together.
Technology on the Farm
The first ever AGCO iVenture Summit in Berlin brought together leaders from the ag industry, including venture capital firms, start up companies, government officials, and senior leaders from not only AGCO, but also Baywa, Bayer, and Rabobank. The exchange of ideas was rewarding for all participants. Like CES, we saw plenty of technology related to AI, IoT, and autonomy. iVenture is about solving ag problems, though, so we went beyond the tech and saw businesses focused on connecting farmers to each other, connecting farmers to markets, and driving market efficiency into the ag value chain. Innovation came not only from technology and not only geared to high tech farmers, but also from innovative business models and geared to smallholders.
Enhancing Productivity, Efficiency and Profitability
My key takeaway from these events was that AGCO is on the right track technologically. As I look at what the highest technology companies in the world are working on in other industries, we are analogous.
We want to understand how customers use and manage our products as key productivity assets.
We want to use AI, IoT, and autonomy to help customers make better decisions and work more efficiently.
We want to use technology to transform our industry.
When I look at the start up community in ag, I can see that there are small companies moving fast that we can work with to gain an advantage over our competition. I can see the investment community putting more and more money into technologies that we have been working on for years. And I can see that AGCO is emerging as a clear leader in the field, helping to set a vision and direction for where ag tech will go.
Conferences can be hit or miss, but CES and iVenture were invigorating and educational. I have no doubt that our participation will lead to profit for AGCO in the future.
Written by: Stefan Caspari
Stefan Caspari is the Vice President of Product Management for Global Electronics and Fuse® at AGCO. To learn more about the Fuse technology strategy, visit www.AGCOtechnologies.com/About-Fuse.
AGCO team members recently traveled to Berlin, Germany to bring together, in the words of our Chairman, President, and CEO, Martin Richenhagen, “Bright ideas and clever minds!”
Invest in the Future of Agriculture was the mantra of AGCO’s first ever iVenture Summit held Thursday, January 18, 2018.
The summit was the brainchild of AGCO, AGCO Finance, AGCO’s Fuse Technologies, and Anterra Capital, a venture capital investor focusing on companies in the food and agricultural sectors. Leaders of the industry were invited to share in lively discussion, and learn about the state of the agriculture, while twelve startups had the opportunity to meet with potential investors.
Moderated by Ulrich Stockheim, AGCO’s Chief Communications Officer, the first half of the day was filled with panel discussions around agricultural innovation. What are the next disruptive ideas that will change food and agriculture as we know it, and who will be funding the next generation? Panelists from leading ag equipment and tech companies, university representatives, and investment partners participated in thought provoking discussion on where we are now, and what the future holds.
The second half of the day offered a lively Innovation Showcase allowing seven of the twelve startups 7-minutes each to pitch their solutions to a panel of judges. Valuable feedback was given to each of the presenting companies, along with a Q&A session that kept the startups on their feet.
Closing remarks were given by AGCO’s Dr. Rob Smith, SVP & General Manger, Europe and Middle East with special thanks to all who participated in the event, and a special announcement that due to a “very successful event” we’ll do it all again in 2019.
Finding a way to manufacture complex, custom-configured Challenger® and Massey Ferguson® agricultural machines quickly, efficiently and to high quality standards was the mission when AGCO Corporation decided to move manufacturing of high-horsepower wheeled tractors for the North American market to its Jackson, Minn., assembly center in 2011. With a need to increase production by 25 percent, plant expansion would be necessary.
To accommodate the necessary changes, AGCO invested $50 million in the Jackson plant over a five-year-period. The expansion included a complete overhaul of the tractor assembly line an additional 16,000 square feet of manufacturing space and a 42,000-square-foot parts kitting area.
The addition of wheeled tractors also meant the manufacturing center would be charged with building five distinct types of products in multiple variations, where rarely are two exactly alike. This level of customization presented challenges both in efficient manufacturing processes and quality control. In addition to the customization, a relatively low-volume of machines are built each year and there are seasonal demand swings.
With these factors in mind, AGCO manufacturing experts decided that switching to mixed model manufacturing was the best approach.
“While mixed model lines can present difficulties in part stocking, setup, skills and training, it provides added flexibility during the manufacturing process,” says Peggy Gulick, AGCO’s director of business process improvement. The plant completed expansion and began building tractors in the shining new facility, but the switch to mixed model processes was not without challenges.
“This complexity and variation made it almost impossible for an operator to remember the exact building specifications of a machine,” says Eric Fisher, general manager, operations in Jackson. “Time was lost when operators had to continually check instructions on personal computers kept away from the assembly line. We tried switching to tablets, but found they were easily broken and expensive to replace.
That’s when AGCO investigated the use of Glass, an assisted-reality, wearable headset device. It was the solution needed to help improve efficiency and quality on the mixed-model line.
Rigorous In-House Testing
Another important aspect of manufacturing on a line with wide product variability is quality assurance. Each tractor passes through a series of four quality-check gates that validate proper function of the hydraulic system, cab electronics, overall fit and finish, and tire or track width. Before being released to its new owner, each machine undergoes a two-hour series of tests to ensure in-field reliability of all tractor functions. The final check is made when each machine is driven on an outdoor test track.
Since switching to mixed model assembly, AGCO has reached several major quality-focused milestones, including:
Reducing early-hour repair frequency of its products by 40 percent
Lowering the supplier parts-per-million rejection rate by 30 percent
“With these detailed quality checks, the Jackson site has set a new standard of excellence for the operation,” says Fisher.
Today, the Jackson plant supplies the entire North American market with built-to-order high-horsepower tractors, but also exports approximately 21 percent of its production.
“Continuing to invest in the Jackson facility supports AGCO’s commitment to delivering high-quality tractors and application equipment that meet the configurations that our customers want,” concludes Fisher. “By building the machines in North America we’re providing equipment that better meets the crop production systems followed by North American farmers. “
As a tribute to the improvements AGCO has made, the Jackson facility recently received the AME 2017 Excellence Award from the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. The award involves completing an extensive achievement report to demonstrate continuous improvement, best practices, creativity and innovation in manufacturing. Manufacturing facilities then are evaluated during a site visit that validates the achievement report.
Jackson also received the 2017 Assembly Plant of the Year Award sponsored by ASSEMBLY magazine. The award is presented to a state-of-the-art facility in the United States that has applied world-class processes to reduce production costs, increase productivity, shorten time to market or improve product quality.
From advances in equipment, science and technology to everyday life on the family farm, the Winter 2018 issue of FarmLife covers agriculture’s latest innovations, best practices and time-honored traditions. Check out these features and much more in our digital editions.
Meet Mike and Betsy Holt. This Maine couple turned their love of dairy farming into the opportunity of a lifetime for young farmers who want a chance to learn animal husbandry practices, dairy operations and more.
When John and Linda Burns created a cooperative farm in Saskatchewan, they set out to do things a little differently. The result? A booming, progressive operation with the soul of a traditional family farm.
Arkansas farmer David Wildly learned to value research from his grandfather and father. Now, thanks to his scientific curiosity, Wildly Family Farms is helping develop practices and technologies that not only help his family operation, but those of other producers, too
AGCO teams with Google and other high-tech partners to develop a new tool that, in the blink of an eye, is helping to revolutionize manufacturing as we know it. Increased productivity and enhanced quality in every tractor is just the beginning.
Farmers and contractors are seeking to make the best use of their resources. Providing them with the best machinery for their needs is our goal. But depending on the farmer’s business, region and personal preferences, he might need to choose machines and technology systems from different suppliers. In addition, many farmers regularly share rarely used or expensive machinery among themselves. Contractors deal with a variety of farms every day and are challenged with multiple precision farming and invoicing systems, which they are expected to interface with. As Dave Kanicki points out in a recent article in Precision Farming Dealer, “Trying to fit rainbow equipment together can at times be like trying to put together a thousand piece puzzle, with several missing pieces.” (Note: you will need a Precision Farming Dealer account or complete a registration form in order to access the free report.)
Our customers expect that their choice of machinery, and also precision farming technologies and farm management systems, are compatible with each other and work seamlessly. AGCO offers a variety of brands and machine types and therefore is a mixed fleet itself, so we understand the importance of solutions for mixed-fleet farming operations.
Standardized Interfaces are Key
When talking about mixed fleets, a discussion about interfaces comes up quickly. A company with a global presence and a full range of agricultural equipment might want to develop proprietary, company-specific interfaces between implements, tractors, self-propelled machines and the farm office. Proprietary interfaces are easier to set up and maintain than talking to competitors to define common standards. Also, proprietary interfaces can be used to lock the customer into a closed loop environment.
AGCO is convinced that the effort to agree on global standards for interfaces is the right way to ensure a seamless compatibility between all machines and farm management systems on the farm. Detailed record keeping of farming operations for farm optimization and reporting purposes, as well as new trends like machine-to-machine communication or autonomous operations, require different systems to extensively interact with each other. This is only possible with standardized interfaces and communication methods. The Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) brings big and small players together to ensure global ISOBUS guidelines and standards are available and being used in a consistent way.
While it is obvious that the technical interface between machines needs to be harmonized to allow for seamless compatibility, another interface is equally important when discussing mixed fleets. The human-machine-interface (HMI) is key for the operator to interact with the machine. A good HMI lets the operator experience a sense of control over the operation and creates the feeling that it is helping to increase overall efficiency. A bad HMI on the other hand results in frustration and the feeling of wasting time.
Technical interfaces are usually being defined by technical experts with an objective definition of “it works”. For the customer as well, the solution either works or not. But when talking about HMI, we immediately use terms like “sense” or “feeling”, indicating that a HMI gets judged on a subjective level. Although there are standards like the DIN EN ISO 9241 to help defining the usability of a product, every operator has a different background and therefore a different belief for what a good HMI looks like. As a result, it is not possible to come up with one common HMI solution that works for every operator globally.
AGCO’s Approach to Human-Machine-Interfaces
Agricultural machinery is designed and built to last for a long time, and is sometimes being used for decades. About 15-20 years ago, graphical HMIs began to spread out on agricultural machinery. At that time, the HMI was machine centric and the operator had to understand how the machine technically worked in order to understand the graphical user interface. Limitations in computing power and software frameworks led to the availability of a rather basic functional range.
In the meantime, hard- and software development cycles in the computing industry have become shorter and computing power is ubiquitously available. Operators of agricultural machinery are used to the latest tablet PCs, smart phones and cloud applications on demand and expect a new machine to be on a similar level. This includes again technical communication interfaces between smart device and machine (bring your own device approach) for machine setup, web browsing, hands-free speaking, music streaming and the use of apps. But it also includes the expectation to have up to date human-machine-interfaces on the machine. Operating systems for PCs and smart devices are globally available and therefore create a benchmark for other industries, as the HMIs become more streamlined.
The above described conflict of goals between machine lifecycle and the lifecycle of personal electronics is being approached by AGCO through frequent updates of machine software in the field which keeps the technical interfaces and HMI up to date. And certainly new machine developments include the latest hard- and software developments.
Another topic is the trend to move away from machine centric to operator centric HMIs, which actively support the operator through increased automation and suggestions for improvements, so the machine learns to understand the user.
The integration of personal devices in the machine is important not only for phone calls and infotainment but also for allowing an increased display area in the cab for precision farming features and machine control purposes.
AGCO sees high value in brand specific HMI developments. Each brand has a history in how to operate the machines, and loyal customers are used to these approaches. In AGCO, a dedicated product owner coordinates HMI definitions and brand differentiation globally. While HMIs widely remain brand specific, it is important to use standardized icons and symbols (e.g. ISO 7000) to avoid misunderstandings and make it easier to switch from one machine to another. Also, it is of high importance to provide high quality translations of display menus to the operator. AGCO provides up to 26 languages on a display to help the operator in any region to concentrate on his task.
HMI brand differentiation at Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra: unique but still following common standards
Limitations of Seamless Compatibility
In addition to the aforementioned limitations in computing power and the resulting constraints in updating machines in the field with completely new features and HMIs, the lack of standardization in many areas prevents further compatibility in mixed-fleet operations. One example is the transfer of geo-data from one machine to another in a mixed-fleet environment. Although AGCO and FarmFacts have developed a web-based wayline converter tool to provide the possibility to convert straight waylines and boundaries between major formats, this is not seamless and requires know-how about the different formats. Another example for missing standards is the exchange of telemetry data between machines in the field and different telemetry systems in the cloud or in the farm office.
Regarding HMI, customers are expecting a more modern graphical interface with ISOBUS implements. Also, it is a challenge for the agriculture industry to increase the ease of use of HMIs while in parallel the functional range of the devices is expanding as well.
AGCO is working hard to surpass the demands of our customers including the user-experience in a multi-brand environment. To learn more about how AGCO is connecting the mixed fleet, visit https://www.agcotechnologies.com/.
Written by Adrian Hackfort
Adrian Hackfort is the product manager for Fuse global on-board technologies including guidance systems, ISOBUS tractor-implement communication as well as displays & user interfaces.
Though involvement with different industry groups like the Ag Data Coalition (ADC) there has been a fairly high level of interest from different media and analysts that have not traditionally covered the ag sector very closely. This interest is coming from the investment community, motivated by the FAO report on the food challenge to feed a growing population that is also becoming more middle class. That report put a global spotlight on the macro trend in agriculture for increased demand and the key role technology has and will play in meeting the world’s need for food, fiber, and fuel. Along with this demand, there are also the market pressures to have more traceability in the food supply chain, and documentation crops are being grown sustainably with minimal impact on the environment. These forces – coupled with recent advances in connectivity and cloud computing – are driving a lot of the investment in ag-tech and the explosion of data focused tools and startups.
One recent interview I participated in with another member of the ADC board was very focused on data ownership and control. They were interested in understanding how farmers view data and what it means to the overall marketplace for not only startup ag-tech companies but also the implications for the mega-mergers we are seeing in the seed and chemical segment of the business. You have to be a subscriber to see the agri investor article, but there were several key discussion points I found interesting. One key issue that receives a lot of press is how much data is worth, and whether farmers can turn data into revenue. This concept comes from the consumer market where the Google and Apple app stores are full of “free” apps that provide some gimmick or functionality users enjoy. In return the app is able to collect some information about the user, whether it is demographic, location, habits or other potential targeted advertising exposure. For many of these apps their ability to generate revenue is based on the ability to generate information about customers and sell that to companies who want to do a better job marketing their products or services with improved information about their target customer base.
Learning more about a target customer and passing that along to companies that want to do a better job marketing and promoting their products or services at the surface sounds like a concept that should translate very well to the ag industry. A recent article on DTN referenced a potential $1 Billion market value for farmers selling their data. However, the data about a farm operation most companies are interested in lies somewhere between personal data, a trade secret, and intellectual property depending on who you ask. For that reason farmers are not always willing to share the information that is essentially their secret sauce on how they run their farm and make decisions about what crops/varieties to plant, when, with what fertilizer and pesticide management tools, and how much yield all of these decisions result in.
Similar to the free apps mentioned earlier, if a farmer sees value in the software tool they are using they generally have no problems sharing their data. The rub comes when farmers do not fully understand what the tools are doing in the background, or who is receiving their data and for what purposes. This is where the investment community is very interested to better understand how farmers feel about sharing this information, and what business models work best to enable these new startups to get access to the quantity, and quality, of data they need to be successful.
There is still a lot to figure out in this area yet, but the market is starting to transition to enable growers to control their data, while enabling companies with new and innovative products to be able to get access to that data. Our partners at Farmobile are very active in this area and are really helping put farmers in control of their data while enabling them to receive financial benefits directly from sharing data.
This need for data in numerous different systems and farmers’ needs to understand how their data is being collected, stored and shared is what led to the open approach that is a key part of AGCO’s Fuse® strategy. AGCO focuses on building machines that collect data farmers and their advisors need, then enable that data to be sent to the partners and software systems the farmer selects. This sharing is always done only with the farmers’ consent and knowledge, keeping them in full control of their data. To learn more about the Fuse open approach to precision farming, visit AGCOcorp.com/Fuse.
Written by: Ben Craker
Ben Craker is a Product Manager for Data, Partnerships and Standards for AGCO’s Global Fuse precision farming group. Connect with Ben on Twitter @crakerb.
The latest issue of Performance Agronomy is all about getting into the zone (the agronomic management zone, that is) to maximize the producer’s return on investment throughout the year. Each article has been crafted with an eye to the future and a solid finger on the pulse of the latest trends and technology that farm operations can use to be even more successful. Check out the Winter 2018 issue of Performance Agronomy.
Even across a 40-acre-field, there may be a number of soil types, each with a different texture and water-holding capacity. Experts explain how the latest in technology and agronomic practices can help producers maximize yield potential with fewer inputs.
Prior to the advent of precision-agriculture management zones and multi-hybrid/variety planting technology, producers were essentially limited to planting only one hybrid or variety per field. Now, solutions exist to place the right seed in the right place at the right rate to boost productivity and profitability. Read on and learn more about these precision ag and planting technologies.
As more growers set up management zones in their fields, new technologies are coming online to help at every step of the process. AGCO experts discuss their favorites among the latest and upcoming innovations, such as the new SmartFirmer that “sees” conditions in each furrow on the go for high-definition mapping of soil moisture, organic matter and residue. It also produces data that can tell the planter how much of which seed to plant in real time. Now that’s precision!
Got a planter that doesn’t have the latest in high-speed, down-force and monitoring technologies? Never fear. Ground-breaking components from Precision Planting can be added to many older planters from a variety of brands. Learn more in this story.
With the launch of the C Series, RoGator adds to its decades-long reputation for innovative technology that delivers accurate and efficient application of nutrients and crop-protection products. Find out about the new industry-exclusive LiquidLogic system that provides effective cleanout, precise rates, greater control for on-target application and less product waste.
Nearly 500 growers at nine 2017 AGCO Crop Tour events discovered proof of how planting practices affect plant growth and yield. Learn more about those practices and how they can help your farming operation via videos and articles in the 2017 Crop Tour Report.
Ontario dairy farmer Wayne Conboy doesn’t remember all the toys he got for Christmas in his youth. But one that does stand out—a gift from his mother, Eleanor, on December 25, 1951—was a Massey-Harris 44 collectible toy tractor.
He remembers it vividly—not only because he pretty well wore it out, but also because it was unearthed, literally, some five decades later on the family farm near Perth. “We were excavating a foundation for an addition to our house, and all of a sudden, there it was in some dirt that was dug up,” says Conboy. “I guess it had got covered over at some point. I was sure surprised to see it.”
Understandably, after 50 or so years in the ground, that toy MH44 was in rough shape. But to Conboy, it was a gem. Making the toy all the more valuable to Conboy, the family had been loyal Massey customers since 1948, when his father, Elwood, brought home a Ferguson TE20. The Massey name is indeed a part of the farm’s history and culture.
So rather than chuck the old MH44, Conboy decided to restore his long-lost toy. And with that, he’d caught the Massey farm-toy bug.
Fast forward to 2017, and Conboy now counts 500 items in his farm-toy collection (about 350 are Massey Ferguson). His most valuable piece is a model of a Ferguson TO30 two-disc plow, worth about CDN $1,200. He also has 10 toy farm sets, as well as a nearly complete set of Massey Ferguson Farm Profit and FarmLife magazines.
And the collection is still growing. It consumes two 12 x 12 rooms in the family’s house, floor to ceiling, as well as several display cases and a shelf along the ceiling near the entrance to their home. There, 40 toy tractors greet visitors.
Meanwhile, the farm-toy-collecting bug has spread throughout the family. Both sons, Doug and Dennis, collect toys, and to Wayne’s delight, grandson Sawyer, 10, is likewise carrying on the collecting tradition. So these days, when Wayne goes to a farm-toy show, it’s not unusual to see him walk away with four purchases … one for every collector in his family.
AGCO is expanding the Future Farm concept out of Africa and creating the first AGCO “Fully Fused” Future Farm in Europe. Our novel Future Farm is located in Tänikon, Switzerland, which is 45 minutes from AGCO’s Europe & Middle East headquarters and the Zurich Airport with good logistics to most European countries. The operation consists of 81 hectares, whereof 55 hectares are arable land, 20 hectares grassland and 6 hectares biodiversity area. Livestock husbandry accounts for 65 dairy cows, 55 sows, 50 goats and 50 sheep.
Swiss Future Farm (SFF) is a public-private partnership and represents a great opportunity to work with open-minded partners who have shared objectives to promote digital farming in practice:
The Swiss government is the owner of the farm and offers collaboration with their research organization, Agroscope, who is located on the farm premises.
The regional government of the Canton of Thurgau is leaseholder and its agricultural college is the operator of the farm. Tänikon is now one of three farms they operate in the canton. The canton is also contributing to the crop planning with their agronomic consultancy service.
AGCO’s Swiss distribution partner, GVS Group, owns and operates the machine fleet on the farm. GVS Group will utilize SFF for machine training courses and demonstration of AGCO brands and technologies.
AGCO is providing access to our latest technology and can collaborate with different partners in the technology and service area to demonstrate the use and benefits of specific applications in precision ag.
AGCO employee, Nils Zehner is working on the Swiss Future Farm as member of the operating team. The activities on the farm are also supported by the EME Fuse and engineering teams and have Senior Vice President and General Manager, Europe and Middle East Dr. Rob Smith and Global Fuse Vice President Stefan Caspari as senior leader sponsors from AGCO.
The SFF project kicked off in September 2017. Going forward, we will develop a “Fully Fused” Future Farm where we can demonstrate the value of our Fuse Technologies and connected machine and farm service solutions in a controlled practical farming environment in conjunction with AGCO mechanization solutions and our distribution partner. The main objectives of SFF are:
Demonstrate the practical hands-on use of precision ag and digital farming utilizing Fuse Technologies and Fuse Connected Services. This included the use of Farm Management Software and of 3rd party sensors and technologies to establish a full data overview integrated into the daily operations.
Work with our partners to build in metrics which measure the impact of our initiatives from a defined baseline and demonstrate how we can impact a commercial farming operation with precision agriculture practices.
Educate young farmers in the Swiss government apprenticeship scheme in Thurgau and surrounding cantons. Support training as part of a three year degree program.
Be a base for our EME Fuse team and the GVS technology experts to utilize and disseminate knowledge to the wider country teams through “Train the Trainer” technology courses.
We started the use of RTK Guidance Systems, Section Control, and Variable Rate Control for autumn tillage and seeding. We are adding the use of drone and satellite imagery, soil analysis and yield mapping on the land and will continue to expand this in the coming crop cycles. In addition to the practical field activities, in Q4 2018 the SFF plans to open with a modern farm operation center, a state of the art technology training facility and Fuse digital farming experience area.
The ambition of the Swiss Future Farm is to become a local and global knowledge center for practicable use of digital farming.