Skip to main content

Demonstration of a cloud-based precision farming management system for a sustainable and intensive agriculture to secure long-term food supply in Europe - Phase II

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AgriCloud P2 (Demonstration of a cloud-based precision farming management system for a sustainable and intensive agriculture to secure long-term food supply in Europe - Phase II)

Reporting period: 2016-05-01 to 2017-04-30

This proposal targets the pilot application and market introduction of AgriCloud, an innovative cloud-based Precision Farming (PF) management system to facilitate a more efficient and sustainable production of crops in Europe. PF systems generate vast amounts of data during field work. However, due to shortcomings of existing PF technologies (time consuming manual integration of read-out from different incompatible data sources, high price), European farmers have been very slow to adopt PF technologies. AgriCloud will be the first cost-effective machinery provider independent plug-and-play PF solution that comprehensively combines plant nutrition and protection expert knowledge with automatically collected real-time-data from the field. AgriCloud collects (via GSM/GPRS) and analyses data from different sources (e.g. sensors, service providers, machinery, weather satellites) and provides to farmer suggestions for optimal plant growth as read-out on mobile end devices or terminals. It also allows farmers to easily control access of third parties to their PF systems for maintenance work (service providers, consultants) or monitoring purposes (governmental authorities).
The project-specific objectives are:
(1) The final development of AgriCloud within the next two years, featuring (i) the AgriBOX operating smoothly on agricultural machinery, (ii) the web client agriPORT with comprehensive management and analysis features and (iii) seven software modules for variable fertilizer application, crop cultivation and protection measures, documentation, telematics and seeding.
(2) Demonstrate AgriCloud at industrial scale within the next two years on six pilot farms to gain at least four success stories, aiming at yield increases by 20%, fertilizer savings by 15% as well as product and soil quality increases, thereby laying the foundations for market introduction according to the commercialization plan.
(3) Market replication and market introduction of AgriCloud within the next three years in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania and the Baltic States each localized according to mapping data, national legislation and national language.
(4) Develop the foreign distribution network and customer base acquiring at least one new Romanian franchise partner and increase the customer base by 300% on average within the next five years.
(5) Gain a turnover of €28m and a market share of 25% for PF management solutions and 4,5% for PF technologies in general within the next five years in the targeted countries.
Development status and technical results after the first project year are as follows:
- Agricon realised all fourteen deliverables during the first half of the project.
- The first and second milestones have been achieved.
- All components of the AgriCloud system, incl. AgriBOX, agriPORT, and connected infrastructure are available for tests on the pilot farms. The final, ready-to-market version 3 of agriBOX will be developed during the second year.
- The software modules reached different development stages: The two already existing software modules “base fertilization” and “nitrogen fertilization” were further developed and finally optimised. The ”crop protection” and the “documentation” module are currently in prototype stage and will be tested in spring 2017. The “telematics” module has also achieved a prototype stage and will be finalised in PM 20. The “seeding” module developments start in project year 2. The “map” module has been developed in the frame of the re-factoring process.
- The demonstration of the AgriCloud system on the first pilot farm at Agrarproduktion “Elsteraue” GmbH & Co. KG took place successfully in the second half of 2016. The feedback of the local pre-test was important for the preparation of the other demonstration farms, located in Germany as well as abroad. The test results were evaluated, which has led to improvement suggestions of the entire system, that has been handed over to the development team of AgriCloud. The prerequisite for introduction on the other 5 pilot farms has been reached. The testing and demonstrations can be carried out in spring time 2017.
- Agricon is well on track to achieve market replication and market introduction of AgriCloud within the next three years in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania and the Baltic States. A project website is already translated into German, Polish, Hungarian and the languages of the Baltic States, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian. Moreover, we prepared or are currently finalising an explanatory video in all these languages. We closely cooperate with our project partners/subcontractor abroad to prepare the introduction of the system. National legislation will be respected in each country.
- The first step of acquiring at least one new Romanian franchise partner is done and on a good way to increase the customer base by 300% on average within the next five years. Next step is to present AgriCloud at AgriPlanta in Fundulea (Romania) in May 2017. A Romanian Franchise partner has been identified. In all other foreign target countries the contacts and works have been intensified through this project.
- After the start of the project, agricon set up a project website and translated the main information in different languages mainly for East European countries. Explanatory videos about the functioning and benefits of AgriCloud were also produced in different languages. Agricon and their franchise partners attended 2 conferences, visited 1 fair in Germany and 2 fairs in Poland. To increase the awareness for the system agricon organised many events. The company presented the AgriCloud system at 20 locations to existing customers. Also 28 webinars by agricon staff have been given to feature the current agriPORT version. Another training of customers with the AgriCloud infrastructure called „Fahrerschulung“ (tractor driver training) took place 12 times from the beginning of 2017. New customers were also addressed within 16 roadshows. The market resonance is high so that we are highly confident about future market acceptance and company growth perspectives.
The markets expectations indicated in the DoA remain valid and the development of agricon’s competitiveness and growth perspective is in line with the estimations in the DoA. Digitalization in agriculture is becoming a global trend and one major mean to support future food security as the world population is steadily growing. Precision farming is making agriculture more efficient and sustainable. The market shares of the future are currently being distributed. Large players are coming in and trying to secure a decisive share in the future value added from digitalization. But also trading companies like Baywa and Agrarvis wants to benefit from this development and offer web-based portals and platforms. However, also for smaller companies like us is a lot of space in the digital scene. Our advantage is to offer a manufacturer-independent solution combined with a high agronomic expertise.
Cloud-based precision farming management system