The need for new partnerships and modern technological solutions in the agricultural sector is increasingly driven by high environmental demands, climate change and fluctuations in product prices. To help farmers work more efficiently to meet these challenges, Geoface has developed a new precision farming system. It will allow farmers to remotely monitor the situation in their fields, get instant and accurate advice, plan the work they need to do and predict yields, all from the comfort of their homes.
Key Geoface benefits for users:
- Nitrogen fertilizer mapping – have you ever needed an agronomist to apply variable rate fertilizer to your crops? With Geoface, you can create variable rate nitrogen fertilizer maps in just a few minutes without the need for agronomic knowledge;
- Viewing reclamation maps – you no longer need to spend time searching for drainage maps for your fields – in Geoface they can be accessed in just two clicks;
- Harvest forecasting – struggling to plan your seasonal income? With the Yield Forecasting tool, you can get a preliminary idea of future field yields;
- Working with a team – now it’s even easier to work with specialists and workers on your farm: you can give access to your fields to other users;
- Keeping a log of spraying, and fertilization tasks – crop maintenance work can be easily, simply and quickly recorded in the app, which keeps a history of the maintenance of each field, the cost structure and profitability;
- Catalogue of plant protection products, pests and diseases – don’t recognise a pest, disease or weed in your field? The catalogue of pests, diseases and weeds will help you.
These proposals are aimed at encouraging farmers and other companies practising crop production to take an interest in Geoface and even to enter into practical cooperation.
Modern crop technologies in Lithuania
What precision technology in agriculture is has been well defined by scientific institutions. For example, the Vytautas Magnus University’s Academy of Agriculture’s research team, led by Prof. Egidijus Šarauskis, states that “precision agriculture is a technology that combines knowledge of agronomy, informatics and engineering into a single entity, which can be applied in practice in agriculture”.
The development of these precision technologies involves three steps. The first is information gathering. In this case, it is gathered by using GPS communications, photographing and scanning fields, conducting soil surveys and analysing scientific papers published by other authors in the world in this field. The second and most complex step is the processing of the information collected. Knowing the composition of the soil and applying more or less seed or fertilizer is not enough for a farmer to implement precision farming technology. The data collected needs to be processed using information technology algorithms, taking into account the cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits of the decisions taken. Only then can the third step be taken: making recommendations to farmers. The farmer downloads the data into the drill’s computer and travels through the field using the relevant GPS coordinates and a map, while the machinery spreads or inserts the variable rates at specific points in the field.
The latest digital farming system – Geoface is offered at a time of revolutionary change in the country’s farming practices. In particular, direct seeding into uncut stubble and multiple crops spraying with mixtures of fertilizers, growth regulators, biostimulants, bacterial preparations and various types of pesticides have become popular in Lithuania. The European Union (EU) is changing its requirements for agribusiness, and so are Lithuania’s, and conditions are tightening. Therefore, we believe that new smart technologies can help farmers to combine the many different solutions that are applied in crop care.
Will help reduce agronomic errors
Farmers and some researchers have already noticed that the current changes in agronomic factors, which are publicly promoted, do not always have a scientific agronomic basis. Even the EU’s new programmes are not 100% based on detailed theoretical studies. For example, a strict no-tilling system is proposed, which leaves no room for stubble cutting, while at the same time committing to new EU requirements: a 50% reduction in the use of pesticides, a 20% reduction in fertilizer application rates, and a ban on ploughing up permanent grassland (meadows and pastures) to reseed it and thereby increase productivity by at least a factor of 1.5-2.5. Alternatively: direct sowing of stubble on low humus loam soils is proposed, and even in the event of a short-term drought, sowing on cloddy land is possible. The result is low germination of the seed field and poor initial plant growth.
We hope that the new Geoface precision technology will make it easier to manage information and avoid these agrotechnical nuances by providing farmers with all the information they need in real-time. Crops will be continuously evaluated and the results will make it much easier to make timely decisions.
The technologies currently on the market are not a product of the current period. They have developed 25-30 years ago when the era of computerisation took hold. Even then, some of the more curious and wealthy farmers bought copies of these automated modern technologies from Western European farmers. It soon became apparent that the algorithms in many of them were not fully compatible with the climatic conditions of Lithuanian soils. Correction of the algorithms began, incorporating information from Lithuanian farms. This proofreading is still ongoing and has generated a number of new studies.
The success of Geoface, the most modern programme of the period, will depend on these studies. In our opinion, it should significantly reduce the number of agronomic errors. It will also help to prioritise the need for investment and even calculate the potential cost-effectiveness. We believe that this programme could be used even by farms that are not yet fully equipped with the precision equipment needed for this programme. Being able to assess crops, have the most up-to-date information in real time and help to make optimal decisions when adjusting crop maintenance throughout the growing season is crucial to avoid mistakes, knowing the profitability of individual fields and, with control, achieving the best result. The real value of this software can therefore only be discovered by trying it out.