Combined knowledge fosters innovation
With the opening of Swiss Future Farm, the AGCO Corporation, the Swiss Agricultural Vocational Training Centre (BBZ Arenenberg) and GVS Agrar as a Swiss importer and manufacturer of agricultural solutions, have given life to a common goal – making digital agriculture visible, tangible and accessible. It's based at a 81-hectare farm in the Swiss canton of Thurgau. With 55 hectares of arable land, 20 hectares of grassland, 6 hectares of biodiversity, dairy cows, pigs, sheep and goats, the Tänikon plant is the ideal test environment. In the future, this site will fund and action digital agriculture research and development work. "It's about being allowed to make mistakes, trying it again and eventually finding the right solution," explains Martin Huber, Director of BBZ Arenenberg.
Findings from the practical research and development done at Swiss Future Farm are also hugely important to the AGCO Group. The aim is to use the gained knowledge to further develop both agricultural solutions and digital products and services so we can improve how farmers are supported in the future. It also means we can demonstrate innovative solutions in a practical way. The AGCO Group, with its European headquarters in Neuhausen, Switzerland, provides various current and future hardware and software solutions for everyday use.
"There is so much we want to learn from the data we collect, but we also want to demonstrate existing systems," says Morten Schmidt, Director of Commercial Fuse AGCO EME. "For example, our documentation system VarioDoc Pro. We will be able to demonstrate to dealers and customers the automatic data exchange between machines via VarioDoc Pro with a farm management system. This is a solution that already exists but it still isn't used enough in practice. It also gives us the chance to explain not only the solutions, but also the agronomic benefits."
Field tests and data management
Swiss Future Farm already started using smart farming solutions in the final months of its one-year planning and implementation phase. First attempts included sowing maize and sugar beet. It included solutions from Precision Planting, a company under the AGCO Group that specialises in the agronomic aspects of plant growth. The tests can demonstrate visibly and measurably how the use of precision farming solutions leads to different growth and ultimately better yields compared to conventional methods under the same conditions.
Picture gallery: The opening of Swiss Future Farm
Swiss Future Farm as an international centre of excellence
"The findings from Swiss Future Farm will be made accessible to the agricultural information and knowledge system at all levels," says Walter Schön Holzer, Councillor of the canton of Thurgau and Minister for the Interior and Economy. For this to happen, there needs to be a constant exchange between players in the international agricultural sector. This is why we will hold meetings, visits and presentations at Swiss Future Farm going forward. This farm of the future is set to become the International Centre of Excellence for Digital Agriculture, focusing on the daily work of farmers.
From 21 - 23 September, 9am - 5pm, the public is warmly invited to experience digital agriculture at ten practice stations. With more than 100 machines, a large food fair, a local farmer's market and a children's playground, there's plenty here for everyone.