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Pixel farming to increase yield by up to 25 percent

With pixel farming the total yield of a field could increase significantly, says Wageningen University & Research.

Pixel agriculture, or pixel farming, is currently being studied by Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. In an online article Dirk van Apeldoorn, Crop Diversity researcher at Wageningen University & Research, says that with pixel farming the total yield of a field is greater than with traditional monoculture, where the entire crop is harvested in a single go. This increase in yield could be as high as 25 percent.

Harvesting robots

Pixel agriculture allows a grower to harvest only what is ripe and leave what is not. “The development of harvesting robots specifically designed for pixel agriculture ensures that the labour costs remain the same. The technology is not entirely ready, but we are already gathering data using a testing field, for when that time comes,” says Van Apeldoorn.

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Pixel cultivation is a type of mixed agriculture. Crops are grown on the same field in strips of six to as much as twenty-four metres wide. - Photo: Bert Jansen
Pixel cultivation is a type of mixed agriculture. Crops are grown on the same field in strips of six to as much as twenty-four metres wide. - Photo: Bert Jansen

Pixel farming offers ecological benefits

The researcher states that pixel agriculture also offers ecological benefits. Just like strip-tilling it leads to an increase in the number of insects and shows improved soil life in comparison to fields that are planted with a single crop. This leads to an increase in biodiversity.”

The Almkerk Campus in the Netherlands applies pixel farming. Each “plot” measures 100 square centimeters. Different crops are grown together.

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