According to the whitepaper “Innovative Technology” by Danish agricultural knowledge institute Food Nation, Danish agriculture has seen sustainable growth through smarter farming. Danish agricultural technology has taken giant strides over the years – improving efficiency and increasing yield.
Modern Danish agriculture has grown up with the need to make efficient use of limited farmland. Since 1990, farmers have increased their yield by almost a third while complying with Danish and EU regulations on nutrient discharge into inland and coastal waters.
According to the Food Nation whitepaper “Innovative Technology” – which you can download at the bottom of this article – such an achievement is the outcome of an eminent ability to develop and apply the latest technology.
New range of opportunities with precision farming
In recent years, precision farming has brought a whole new range of opportunities to improve the sustainability of crop cultivation. Across Denmark, use of this technology is becoming increasingly widespread among farms of all sizes, states the whitepaper.
On tractors and slurry machines, a GPS tracking and monitoring system can ensure herbicides and fertilisers are applied in the right dose and that seeds are sown at the right depth for optimum growth. The farmer- owned agricultural knowledge centre SEGES develops a number of tools that enable farmers to hook up with satellites and benefit from this dosing precision.
Samson Agro has been able to expand its smart farming technology with a GPS solution for variable slurry application based on GPS mapping. The solution is combined with a nuclear magnetic resonance sensor system that takes precise real-time measurements of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the natural fertilisers. In this way, farmers can be sure that slurry spreaders distribute nutrients precisely, according to the requirements of each field section.
Read the article we wrote last year about Samson SlurryLab - slurry analysis using MRI technology.
Field robots and drones
A growing number of Danish farmers rely on field robots to improve their efficiency. Using a vision-based hoeing machine, for example, farmers can supervise weed control in row crops from a smart phone or laptop.
The whitepaper states that in the years ahead, drones will become an increasingly familiar sight, as they fly over fields to identify weeds and ensure targeted use of herbicides.
“Technology of this kind benefits the environment, improves yield and reduces farm costs. In other applications, it can reduce waste of valuable raw materials,” say the authors.
One example is the automated feeding systems that both mix and deliver feed to meet the specific nutritional requirements of livestock – reducing feed loss and increasing farm profitability.
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A growing number of Danish farmers rely on field robots to improve their efficiency. One Danish manufacturer is AgroIntelli. Its Robotti is a diesel-hydraulics autonomous tool carrier that can complete operations such as weeding or spraying without a driver. - Photo: Matthijs Verhagen
Correct raw material transportation and storage are also important factors in loss minimisation. For this reason, Danish companies have developed enclosed silos to control the temperature and humidity of stored grain, protect against insects and remove impurities such as weed seeds. The silos significantly reduce the volumes of grain that go to waste post-harvest.
According to the whitepaper, Denmark is now a “digital leader”, thanks to close interaction between the public and private sectors which speeds up the journey from innovative research to succesful commercial products.
Seven Danish government-approved research and technology organisations play a key role in this knowledge transfer, ensuring the latest technology is smoothly and efficiently put to best use.
Similarly, the farmer-owned agricultural knowledge centre SEGES, which is part of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, helps to bring the latest knowledge and technology to farmers as quickly and efficiently as possible. By using applied science from the universities and facilitating meetings between farmers and commercial companies, new products are tested and modified from an early stage of their development.