CropTec seminar highlights digital future in crop protection
Using data and digital tools will help farmers meet key crop protection challenges for the future – including to fulfill the paradox of producing more, better quality, food, at a lower cost to the consumer, and with less reliance on crop protection products.
Speaking at this week’s CropTec Show (23-26 November), Harry Fordham, Syngenta New Farming Technologies Lead, told the Crop Protection Seminar: “We’re seeing a huge focus and investment in digital solutions to aid with decision making that will help to develop sustainable farm businesses, as well as mitigate the environmental and legislative pressures the industry faces.
“Technologies are already in place to enable growers and agronomists to use products more efficiently and effectively, such as Spray Assist. With new developments it’s building into a seamless transition to an exciting new farming generation that will be better equipped to adapt to ever more unpredictable scenarios,” said Harry (below).
Meeting consumer and legislative desire to see a reduction in the use of crop protection products is a realistic and achievable vision by utilising digital tools, he claimed.
Improved scouting for pests and diseases, linked into adapted decision making and utilising new technologies for precision application, such as PWM and nozzle switching, enables better targeting of specific problems, compared to blanket application.
Enhanced predictive models and weather forecasting will further ensure steps in the drive to use as little product as possible, but as much as necessary to maintain productivity and efficiency.
“But the decision as to what and how much should be applied in any situation must be driven by the agronomic requirement to get the most out of the product and the plant,” Harry urged.
Coupled to plant breeding for varietal resistance, it dovetails into an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan.
For the future, Harry outlines technologies where the spray can could effectively talk to the sprayer, albeit via cloud-based software.
The sprayer would know what’s in the tank and adjust application technique to get the best possible performance, including down to the LERAP for environmental protection, for example.
Linking-in application decision mnaking to the prevailing weather conditions could further make automatic adjustments to minimise risk of drift, in real-time on the move.
“When new products –are launched in the future, be it crop protection or variety, each can be delivered with a package of data and digital algorithms designed to get the best performance, that can plug straight into the farm’s management systems."
“It will demonstrate to consumers and legislators that they are being used responsibly and safely, as well as assuring the performance for growers and agronomists,” he reported.