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New and innovate mobile apps help farming to get smarter

The EU-funded SMARTAGRIFOOD2 project has boosted innovative ideas for smarter agriculture by supporting entrepreneurs to set-up successful businesses.
New and innovate mobile apps help farming to get smarter
From sensors that can detect whether cattle are ready to breed, to soil quality detectors, the ‘Internet of Things’ is making inroads in agriculture.

One EU-funded project is aiming to accelerate its uptake by using a cloud-based computing architecture and supporting smart farming ideas. SMARTAGRIFOOD2 provided technical support and funding to small enterprises and web entrepreneurs to transform their innovative ideas into new applications and business services that help farmers.

‘Between January and September 2016, the businesses we supported generated a total turnover of EUR 2.5 million and created 41 new jobs,’ says George Beers, SMARTAGRIFOOD2 project coordinator.

The project builds on an earlier EU-funded project – SMARTAGRIFOOD – which built cloud based FIRWARE architecture specifically tailored to the needs of the agriculture sector. SMARTAGRIFOOD2 then opened a call for innovative ideas and selected 50 companies out of 158 applicants to develop their mobile applications. Halfway through the project, 17 were selected for the next phase – with three of them identified as ‘high flyers’ receiving extra support. All 17 projects used FIWARE to turn their ideas into reality.

The successful projects included a farm financial analysis app that provides simple and affordable financial management and analysis solutions for small and medium-sized farms. Another company developed sensors that track the flow of nitrates in soil helping farmers to reduce fertiliser use by detecting only where fertiliser application is necessary.

One of the other successful recipient projects developed a mobile app which allows beekeepers to carry out inspections and record live beehive data like population and diseases. Whilst another developed an irrigation advice app that provides farmers with information on when and how much water their crops need, helping farmers to reduce irrigation costs by up to 30 %.

Other successful ideas included an app that provides farmers with fast information on plant pests and diseases, and an app that helps goat and sheep farmers make management planning decisions.

Many of the apps can be used by farmers via their smartphones when they are close to their crops or animals, allowing them to make informed in-the-field decisions.

Shifting to precision farming

All of these projects are designed to meet the broader goal of increasing the quantity and quality of agricultural production through ‘precision farming’ that provides much more detailed information on the amount of inputs needed, such as fuel and fertiliser, faster tracking of animal and plant health and other information, all of which can help meet environmental sustainability, animal welfare and food safety goals as well as improve the farm business.

With the project now over, Beers hopes its legacy will live continue to live on. ‘The “ecosystem” that resulted from the project can be used in the further digitalisation of the agri-food sector as an initial connection has been made between agri-food businesses and smart internet appliances,’ he says.

Moreover, some of the project partners have continued their cooperation as part of an on-going, large-scale Horizon 2020 pilot project for the ‘Internet of Things’ called IOF2020 that began in February 2017 and is due to run until December 2020. This project has received nearly EUR 30 million in EU funding and will be taking forward many of the processes and innovations initially conceived within SMARTAGRIFOOD2.

Related information


SMARTAGRIFOOD2, mobile app, precision farming, SMARTAGRIFOOD, entrepreneurship
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