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Is technology the way to improve farming?

The EU is asking all European farmers to take part in a survey to get a better view on the use of precision agriculture technologies in European agriculture. Is technology the way to improve farming?

Until 31 January 2019, farmers from all 28 member states of the European Union can take part in a survey to get a better view on the use of precision agriculture technologies in European agriculture.

The survey targets both users and non-users of precision agriculture technologies, for drawing a comprehensive picture on the awareness, uptake and use of precision agriculture technologies. It is undertaken in parallel with similar surveys among companies of the machinery sector and public authorities.

Precision agriculture technologies

The survey is organised in partnership of the European farmers’ association Copa-Cogeca, the European network of national agricultural machinery associations CEMA, the European Commission services DG AGRI, Joint Research Centre and Eurostat and the European Environment Agency. The survey wants to learn more about European farmers’ awareness and experiences when it comes to precision agriculture technologies.

The survey is available in English through this link. Translations in 22 other European languages can be downloaded as a zip file through this link.

Background

Precision agriculture is an integrated information- and production-based farming system that aims at increasing the whole farm production efficiency, productivity and profitability while minimizing unintended impacts on the environment. In an agriculture market where gross margin and profitability are often getting tighter, the application of precision agriculture technologies can potentially contribute to increase the economic, environmental and social performance of a farm.

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A drone is being launched above a potato field. - Photo: Ruud Ploeg
A drone is being launched above a potato field. - Photo: Ruud Ploeg

Precision agriculture technologies may involve, e.g. the use of information technology, satellite positioning data, remote sensing and proximal data gathering. One precision agriculture technologies’ component is e.g. site-specific crop management where decisions on resource application and agronomic practices are improved to better match soil and crop requirements as they vary in the field.

A few specific examples of precision agriculture technologies benefits are:

  • Increase in farmers’ income
  • Optimised production efficiency
  • Reduce emissions to the environment
  • Enhanced adaptation and resilience to adverse weather events
  • Improved work efficiency
  • Reduced tiring working conditions

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