Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

TARGIS-VRA Report Summary

Project ID: 729048

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TARGIS-VRA (TARGIS - Variable Rate Smart Fertilizing System in Precision Agriculture)

Reporting period: 2016-05-01 to 2016-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The global trend in agricultural demand and production is related to the increase in global population. According to the United Nations, the global population is rising by almost 80 million per year. A growing middle class indicating an increasing wealth will double world food demands by the year 2050 with 9 billion people inhabiting the Earth. These changing trends make issues regarding food crisis and security a global focal point. The yields of major grains grow by about 1% per year, which is lower than the population growth rate over the world and the increasing food demand of the urban population. Increasing demand for agricultural production has made the ecological and economic burden of agriculture inevitable. However, increasing the agricultural productivity comes at a cost. One-third of the global GHG emissions come from agriculture and the amount of GHG release will continue to increase unless yield levels don't continue to grow. It is widely known that, GHG from agriculture sector mostly comes from increasing arable land, livestock production and fertilizer consumption. This trend creates high demand for improved and sustainable food production technologies, and innovative solutions.

Despite the restrains, with the support of changing technologies, agricultural practices shift to a “precision farming” trend. This trend will become the standard of future farming practices and structures. Digital technologies and data driven innovation, cloud-based and connected machines add-up to the agricultural value chain. Existing farmland is capable of supplying the growing demand for food with the help of technological developments and agricultural input optimization.

Currently, traditional tractors and traditional implement systems are not compatible with technologic equipment needed to practice variable rate applications and precision farming. Alternative high technology solutions are expensive and complex. Farmers need to have machineries compatible with ISOBUS (ISO 11783) based systems apart from ISOBUS implemented tractors. ISOBUS structures cannot be adapted to traditionally manufactured agriculture machines. Moreover high technology solutions require much more training and high skills for efficient use.

The novelty of TARGIS-VRA is that it is compatible with existing machines with its innovative retro-fitted structure. No extra machinery investment, training and implementation periods for customers will be necessary to switch their current business model into higher technological devices.

The main objective of TARGIS®-VRA Phase-I proposal is to develop a variable rate application (VRA) system, for use in precision agriculture implementations, which will be the extension and the continuation of the existing TARGIS®-VRA platform. TARGIS®-VRA is a complete system that handles automatic or electronically controlled fertilization process mostly installed on traditional tractors. The system is composed of both hardware and software components with a cloud-based geographical information systems derived farm/field management server side innovative software. The users can either download/load fertilization maps to the control units or apply the fertilizer amounts given on the map automatically or they manually change the rate of fertilizer output with their control units while they are on the tractor at the field.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In the scope of the feasibility report studies, in a six-months study, a research has been carried out regarding the European Parliament’s and Commission’s released papers, global mega-trends and disruptive innovations to have a clear vision of Europe’s focus areas, future policies and strategies on the subject market. The sub-sectors in agriculture that will be affected by these global trends have been identified. Moreover, researches regarding the fertilizer and agricultural machinery markets, especially in the Europe region over the last 10 to 15 years have been combined with updated European agricultural farm data and crop production data from reports to prioritize the EU countries on the 5-year feasibility roadmap. The following outcomes are achieved:
• A market positioning for the product has been defined.
• The market potential and impact has been calculated.
• A business model with the “Business Model Canvas” methodology has been developed.
• Financial projections have been calculated.
• Intellectual Property Right issues have been studied in detail.
• Freedom to operate research has been conducted.
• Novelties have been identified.
• Competitor research has been carried out.
• Experts from Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) have guided through the required European regulations and standards regarding the product and the software that need to be taken into account in addition to the ISOBUS standard and new technological improvements have been identified in the field-study experiences and tests.

Tangible results for the return on investment for an average farmer with 12 ha of agricultural land and the cost of fertilizer saving on EU-28 basis has been calculated. The low risk, competitive price and short return on investment period of the farmer show achievable results. Moreover, a five year projection and cumulative cash flow analysis has been conducted. The return on investment year of the total project has been calculated. Several meetings with potential customers and key partners have been conducted.

This feasibility study let GEOSYS to continue on the project and enter into the European market with H2020 SME Instrument Phase-II funds and business support mechanisms to improve its business in the subject field.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Intangible and indirect results for both the economy and the ecology will be present after the implementation of variable rate fertilizer system into the market. In long term, optimum levels of fertilizer usage during agricultural production will increase the productivity of the soil. Meanwhile a decrease in fertilizer contaminants and released greenhouse gas will be attained. Decrease in released greenhouse gases will increase the yield percentage and optimize the soil in the long run.
Moreover, soil and yield maps, fertilizer usage data, fertility level of European countries will provide NGOs, universities, umbrella organizations etc. data that will serve as decision support systems.
Low-cost and retro-fitted solutions will provide awareness on precision farming solutions, which will in return create an ecosystem for innovation by itself and thus have a multiplier effect on the production of high technology and high quality goods among European manufacturers.

Related information

Record Number: 196251 / Last updated on: 2017-03-28
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