What agtech innovations will help farmers adopt reliable and measurable sustainable practices to deliver on the Green Deal objectives? Eleven experts shine a light on the challenges and opportunities in biologicals, autonomous equipment, carbon credits and the power of data.

Biologicals Hitting the Mainstream

Jason Garbell, Senior Director, BioAg Marketing and Strategy, NOVOZYMES“Very promising and highly efficacious next generation bioinnovation is now emerging that will enable much more sustainable agriculture, however, for farmers to benefit there is a need for easy access to these new sustainable solutions and encouragement to take a biology first approach. There must be clear, harmonized, and expedient paths to approval to reach the market for these revolutionary technologies. Time is critical (such as, evidence by Farm to Fork) for us to confront some of our greatest challenges – whether climate change, water scarcity, the overuse of chemical pesticides, and delivering what consumers want. The next generation bioinnovation is on the way and can help solve these challenges, but we must collectively prioritize their adoption.” Jason Garbell, Senior Director, BioAg Marketing and StrategyNOVOZYMES

“Sustainable crop protection is an ongoing challenge for farmers.  Increasing the adoption of biological crop inputs far above the current level will be a critical aspect of a more sustainable practice.  However, biologicals historically have significant challenges as crop protection products.  Technological innovation enables us to overcome these challenges by understanding and exploiting the roles that microbials play in crop ecosystems. These new approaches will enable biologicals to fulfill decades of promises to farmers, while further enabling a more sustainable farming practice.” Jamie Bacher, Co-Founder & CEO, BOOST BIOMES

Unlocking the Power of Data

Leo Bastos, Carbon Business Model Head, BAYER CROP SCIENCE

“Implementing meaningful carbon emission reductions can only occur when industry-wide partnerships are enabled across the entire value chain. Decarbonizing agriculture means combining climate-smart farming practices with innovative digital capabilities and effective market incentives, so we can keep more carbon in the soil and out of the atmosphere. At Bayer we’re continuously looking for ways to create new opportunities for growers to make their operations more sustainable; both from a financial and environmental perspective” Leo Bastos, Global Commercial Ecosystems Lead, BAYER

Agnieszka Lukaszczyk, Senior Director for European Affairs, PLANET“Earth observation data can complement field work in research evaluating the feasibility and effectiveness of regenerative agricultural practices. Satellite imagery can be used at the field level to monitor management practices in farming such as rotating crops, minimal or no ploughing and planting cover crops. This data can also be used to calculate the biomass and carbon sequestration value of plants, which helps determine how effective cover crops are in protecting an area in a scaleable, cost and time effective way. It is also less labor and time-intensive than field sampling.” Agnieszka LukaszczykSenior Director for European Affairs, PLANET

“Earth observation from satellites is an essential component of the agricultural digitalization providing transparent and timely information at field level and national scale for monitoring of CABenjamin Koetz, Head of Sustainable Initiatives Office, EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCYP eco-schemes such as agricultural practices, crop diversification and grasslands management. Open Sentinel1/2 data allow for monitoring of tillage, harvesting, catch crops which are all important agricultural practices for carbon storage assessments at parcels level. The foreseen systematic use of satellite based CAP monitoring intends to facilitate the CAP subsidies claim process by the farmer as well as reduce the burden of field inspections/controls. Further carbon storage assessments scaled through satellite monitoring could lead to a new income for farmers selling carbon credits created through “carbon farming” in the future.” Benjamin Koetz, Head of the Sustainable Initiatives Office, EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY

“Data is at the heart of supporting farmers to improve crop resilience and in turn drive more planet positive methods of farming. On the farms we source potatoes from, we’re using our iCrop precision agriculture technology to track millions of data points each year.  All this data adds up to providing great insight into crop performance which is critical in supporting transformation on farms and helping farmers grow more, using less.  Data will be equally critical in tracking any improvements being made. Practically, these tools are helping our farmers be more precise around how, where and when they need to enrich soil with fertiliser, meaning we can be more targeted and therefore use less, resulting in lower emissions.  We are also using the tool to integrate with other on-farm tech, such as irrigation scheduling.  Through understanding the water usage on the farm we have been able to drive significant improvements seeing an increase to 92% accuracy in water usage from 48% in some of the trial farms.

We have set a goal to use regenerative agriculture across all the farm land we source crops from.  Measurement is critical to this and so we are adding metrics around regenerative ag into iCrop.  This year we have also begun piloting new innovative solutions such as a hand-held-GPS enabled probe to accelerate the collection of “ground-truthing” data to measure carbon and soil health.  We have also begun working with satellite imaging and big data companies to help us establish tools for us to roll out best practices at scale.” David WilkinsonSenior Director of European AgriculturePEPSICO

Towards Autonomous Equipment

Michael Horsch, HORSCH“As farmers and manufacturers of farm machinery, we see the future of farming in finding solutions for “human health and “climate change” starting in the soil. We know that neither organic farming nor conventional farming is the long-term solution. We believe in “hybrid farming”. Therefore we need to continue in digitalisation but even more in microbiology. But applied science in microbiology is way behind.”  Michael Horsch, Founder & CEO, HORSCH

Maurice Geerkens, Manager, Commercial, FUSE, AGCO“Agriculture equipment is evolving in such a manner to be ahead of the farmers needs with a strong focus on, optimizing the farm operation to do more with less without making compromises, secure the farm income, contributing to the increasing global food demand and meets regulations. The fastest adoption and investments over the last 10 years are in machine automation that allowed the farmer to work more accurately to do more with less and has a direct impact on savings like time, fuel, seed, fertilizer etc. Considering that machine automation made its industry entry at the beginning of the 20th century, it still took a long time before we can say automation is used on a large geographical scale of farmers using automation on their farm.” Maurice GeerkensManager, Commercial FUSEAGCO

Justin Gong, Co-Founder, SVP, XAG“From fossil power to clean energy, agricultural equipment is evolving to be more precise and generate less greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the full-electric drones and farm robots can use AI to identify pests and diseases, only spraying where it is needed. This means that farmers can protect their crops from seeding to harvest with less pesticide and carbon footprint. Digital solutions that combine hardware and AI software to grow more with less are gaining momentum among farmers. For example, in addition to scaling up fully autonomous drones and robots for seeding, crop spraying and fertilisation, XAG has developed the smart agriculture system to help farmers analyse crop growth and close yield gap. With AI crop modeling, farmers can know exactly when, where and how much to spray. XAG is now servicing more than 9 million farmers world-wide with AI empowered crop protection drones.” Justin Gong, Co-Founder & SVP, XAG

“To support a world-growiAurelien Demaurex, Co-Founder + Vice Chairman, ECOROBOTIXng population, we need to produce food in a smarter, more efficient and more sustainable way. In this transformation, robotics and artificial intelligence will play a key role. We believe that future farming equipment will be super smart and extremely precise enabling plant-by-plant crop care.” Aurélien DemaurexCEO & Co-Founder, ECOROBOTIX

Sergio de Andrade Coutinho Filho, Co-CEO, ZASSO GROUP“The means to solve agriculture’ big challenges are evolving from chemical to autonomy, intelligence, digital, electronics, power electronics and physical technologies. As they mature, efficiency rises, and cost decreases. Consequentially, adoption is growing exponentially.  This is the key to unlock a future where food safety and quality are ensured with social and environmental sustainability. Specifically, solutions such as electrical weeding solve not only those issues, but also weed resistance, which collaborate for the very fast adoption growth such technologies are experiencing.” Sergio de Andrade Coutinho Filho, Co-CEOZASSO GROUP

Join over 800 global senior leaders at the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit on September 28-29 as we unite food and agribusiness leaders, investors, technology developers and start-ups to uncover solutions and business models that will enable the transition to a low carbon economy. Full conference agenda and speakers available at www.worldagritechinnovation.com/agenda.