SIMA sees growth in demand for farming satellite technology

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Published: 
11 March 2013

Exhibitors at the 75th Sima-Simagena International Agri-Business Show at the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre from 24 to 28 of February noted an increase in demand for satellite technology installed in tractors and harvesters over recent years.

© DalySince its debut in 1922, the Sima trade fair has positioned itself as a showcase for innovations that revolutionize the world of agriculture. This year was no different and Sima 2013 was marked by a significant trend towards the increasingly sophisticated integration of information and communications technology into farming machinery, and these technologies converging with consumer applications. Farming machinery is becoming increasingly complex and high-tech, but thanks to the incorporation of internet and mobile computing solutions, it is becoming easier to operate.

In parallel with this technology trend, major international manufacturers of agricultural machinery, such as Germany’s CLAAS, have noted that while GNSS systems were not yet standard in every machine, the equipment was easy to install and this was an option that was becoming more and more attractive to customers and an increasingly frequent request.

This trend is underlined by the fact that the Isobus communications system is now informing the design of tractors and other farming machinery. Advanced control and monitoring systems are now widely used with many farming implements to improve accuracy, efficiency, and productivity. Most of these systems require a control or display to be mounted in the tractor cab, which can lead to a cluttered collection of cables and consoles.

To deal with this problem, the ISO 11783 international standard was developed to harmonise the data interface between tractor, implements and on-board computers. Manufacturers of agricultural machinery interpreted this standard to create a specification, which has become commonly known as Isobus. The Isobus system allows farmers to coordinate multiple functions from one console, and also facilitates the integration and use of GNSS technology in farming processes.

Satellite decade

© DalySatellites have been used in agriculture for over ten years to fine-tune farm work, resulting in improved performance and lower costs. The use of satellite technology allows farmers to have more precise navigational control, such as GNSS controlled auto-turn, making it possible to ensure highly accurate line acquisition during harvesting, thereby reducing overlaps and misses.

In particular, EGNOS provides even higher precision than GPS alone at a low cost.

Precision agriculture techniques include the use of satellite navigation sensors, aerial images and other tools that help farmers increase their productivity, save money and reduce their impact on the environment.

Farmers can combine data gathered by GPS devices with data on moisture, crop yield, weed density and soil samples in order to determine the best tractor routes, pesticides, fertilizers and seeding density. GPS data can also be used to optimize planting maps by highlighting field areas that are least productive – enabling farmers to use more fertilizer or seed in these areas, in order to increase production. By using GPS, farmers can also work in low visibility field conditions such as rain, dust, fog, and darkness.

Productivity boost

It is precisely because of these benefits, which allow farmers to increase productivity, while making their farm planning and work more efficient and cost effective, that farm equipment manufacturers have been receiving more and more requests from farmers for satellite technology such as EGNOS receivers to be installed in their machinery.

The increasing prominence of this technology in agriculture was also underlined by the fact that Sima 2013 played host to the Farming by Satellite Prize, an initiative of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) in partnership with agricultural machinery manufacturer CLASS and Bayer CropScience. The aim of Farming by Satellite was to promote the use of satellite technologies, specifically EGNOS and the forthcoming Galileo system, in agricultural applications.  More information can be found here.

One of the main topics dealt with at Sima 2013 was the challenge of supporting efficient and sustainable agriculture in order to achieve the twin goals of feeding the world’s population while at the same time preserving its natural resources. The increased efficiency of farming processes offered by satellite solutions can contribute significantly to achieving these aims, and the upsurge in demand for this technology suggests that European farmers are very aware of this fact.

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the GSA website.

More information:

The European GNSS Agency

EGNOS Portal

EGNOS and agriculture

Updated: Jan 30, 2018