How to feed planet Earth without
destroying it in the process?

definition of smart digital farming

According the position paper of DLG.org (link), digitization can mean additional value creation for farms together with promotion of rural areas. It can contribute to improving environmental kindliness, animal welfare and sustainability in farming.
Precision Farming is understood to mean optimizing growth conditions by means of sensory analysis and precise application technology.
Smart Farming is the further development of Precision Farming and contributes chiefly to supporting decision-making, as information processing has become increasingly complex due to data fusion and analysis and can only be mastered using partial or complete automation.
Digital Farming is understood to mean consistent application of the methods of “Precision Farming and Smart Farming”, internal and external networking of the farm and use of web-based data platforms together with Big Data analyses.

Accordingly, digitization provides modern methods for achieving comprehensive collection, storage, linking and evaluation of farm and production data. In particular it can help
– particularly through data fusion and analysis in conjunction with Big Data methods
– to improve the typically complex agricultural decisions on optimizing by supplying hitherto unavailable information.

Our Mission

With agri-smartness, we integrate applied intelligence and data-driven decision making in precision farming -and livestock breeding without losing synchronicity with our planet.

As a VLAIO IBN cluster initiative, Smart Digital Farming aims at deploying economic potential in the Flemish agri-food sector by initiating a digital revolution within an interdisciplinary ecosystem of smart precision farming -and livestock breeding.

As a registred Digital Innovatio Hub in RIS3, we envisage the following goals towards 2020:

  • Enhance knowledge and expertise in applied agri-smartness
  • Stimulate capacity building in precision farming
  • Build and validate concrete and innovative business cases for SME's
  • Implement new business models within an AgriFood 4.0 environment
  • Stimulate market -and product differentiation in this domain
  • Streamline public/private funding opportunities for new ideas
  • Deploy local and international exposure of the SDF initiative by organising theme days and events for relevant stakeholders
 Source: EU STOA website - precision agriculture - fields

Source: EU STOA website - precision agriculture - fields

Why is technology and digitalisation so important in agriculture?

According the UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, the global population will reach 9 billion people by 2050. If we add changing food habits in Asia, the increasing need for potable water and emerging bio-availability issues due to climate change, than we face one of the most important challenges in the upcoming decades for planet Earth. In order to keep up the pace, food production will have to increase with 70% by 2050.

Source: EU STOA video on precison agriculture and the future of farming

The numbers for Europe are not promising:

  • 174 million hectares of agriculture
  • 40% of the total EU land area but decreasing by nearly 1%
  • 60% is arable, 34% permanent pasture and grazing and 6% permanent crops
  • 10,8 million farm holdings decreasing with 3,7% per year
  • Rise from average 14,4 to 16,1 hectares per holding (consolidation)
  • 22 million  people as regular work force excluding the 4 million seasonal workers

In order to keep up the pace, the global Total Factor of Productivity (TFP) will have to increase by an average of 1,8% per year. From 1995 to 2002, the EU-TFP grew with 1,6% in the EU-15. Thereafter, the EU-15 TFP in agriculture dropped to 0,3% per year. Between 2005 and 2013, the number of agricultural holdings in Europe declined with 1,2 million.

Source: EU STOA Precision agriculture and the future of farming in Europe. Dec 2016