High-precision farming, allowing treatment of individual plants through satellite techonology

The objectives of the agriloc project are to demonstrate how satellite navigation and satellite telecommunication can together provide the basis of solutions for high-precision farming, allowing the treatment of individual plants. In parallel, new test systems, procedures, and services will be conceived to support the overall development and to set up test reports and label-testing, which are important to the end-users in their purchasing decisions. The primary target users of agriloc are large-scale arable farmers, growing mainly small grains typically in crop rotations with corn and speciality crops (such as potatoes and sugar beet) in highly mechanised production processes. Two further market segments considered are livestock farmers (dairy or cattle) who have a sufficiently large farm to also grow their own feed (arable part of their operation) and contractors who run operations very similar to large arable farmers. The technology to be developed will also be of interest to speciality farmers who grow row crops (such as vegetables and fruits) and are often characterised by significantly smaller farm sizes and a lot of manual labour. Although the individual production systems can look very different, they all have common goals. The main driver for these users is the need to achieve a higher yield per acre and better crop quality. This implies an exact seed placement that allows the plant to optimally develop and this is enabled by a highly accurate, permanently available navigation and control. Secondary goals of these users include increased efficiency, reduced cost (e.g. of fuel, seeds, fertiliser and labour) and maximising uptime of machines. The pilot service demonstrations are planned in Germany. In future, agriloc services are to be provided over the whole of Europe. The intended solution consists of three main complementary parts, with each partner being responsible for one part. The guidance solution, enabled by GNSS and developed by John Deere, will be implemented in the steering system of the vehicle. The reliable connectivity solution, an Intelligent Switching Modem using a combination of terrestrial and satellite telecommunications and developed by Telespazio VEGA, will ensure that the guidance solution always has access to the real-time kinematic (RTK) data required. The test solution, developed by DLG, has a double function. During the development phase, it will be used for independent testing of the guidance, navigation and connectivity solutions and later for the test reports and label-testing, which are important to the end-users to make their purchasing decisions.

Rural development
Demonstration Project
Tony Sephton
Telespazio VEGA Deutschland GmbH