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Châtenay-Malabry (FR - 92290), February 14, 2022
EFITA newsletter / 1026 - European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment
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Young Hare, by Albrecht Dürer, 1502, watercolour and bodycolour on paper, Albertina, Vienna
> The autonomous John Deere from a farmer’s perspective: Part III
What do farmers think of the autonomous John Deere? What impact will it have on their farm? Future Farming asks farmers around the world. This week: Andrew Slatter of Australian broad-acre farming company Viridis Ag.
> Drones (video): 5 exceptional farming drones for sale
This video is the first in a two-part series, showing the farming drones from our buyer's guide.
> Automation: Automation index increases by 12,5% in Brazilian agriculture
The Agrotech Index, which measures the level of automation on Brazilian farms, increased by 12.5% between 2019 and 2021.
> Farm Visit: Refining seed and fertiliser applications for higher yields
Kingara Farms in South Australia uses a range of precise applications to optimise the use of its different types of soils.
> Weeding robots: Concentrated light to weed better than other technologies
Earth Rover is working on three different field robots including its Terrier rover for selective weeding with concentrated light.
> Harvesting robots: Brussels sprout picking robot: an insightful first year
About a year ago, the ASH-4 fully automatic sprout picker from Dutch harvesting equipment manufacturer Tumoba made its debut.
> Fertilising: Better global nitrogen fertiliser balance in grain needed
Consideration of all costs and benefits of nitrogen fertiliser leads to different choices in grain cultivation worldwide.
> Why hydrogen is the future farm fuel
Hydrogen has the potential to become a next natural farm produce. As a clean or green energy source it can produce energy on farms and help reduce emissions
> Expert Opinion: Getting the most out of drones in agriculture
When used correctly, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can help agriculture professionals optimize operations, maximize yield and profitability.
> Field robots: Working with field robots takes some getting used to!
Introducing a field robot to a farm requires more than just pushing the start button. Read more
> Agro Innovation Lab is searching for biological plant protection and input material solutions
Agro Innovation Lab is searching for biological plant protection and input material solutions
Be part of the Bio Innovation Challenge and get the chance to network with important industry stakeholders and to win prizes such as PoC Money for a joint project:
> Harvesting: Visual yield measurement of seed potatoes works
Automated site-specific visual yield measurement of seed potatoes works. This is evident after completion of a three-year trial in the Netherlands.
> Indoor farming: Smart greenhouses to reduce farmer’s electrical bill
Farmers could reduce their greenhouse electrical costs by as much as 33% with the help of a predictive lighting control system, a new study shows.
> Autonomous tractors: The autonomous John Deere from a farmer’s perspective: Part III
Andrew Slatter of Australian broad-acre farming company Viridis Ag shares his views on the autonomous John Deere tractor.
How did we the future yesterday??
See the incredible collection developed by Alain Fraval
The Growing Importance of Center Pivot Irrigation in Today’s Agriculture
Yes, getting water to the field remains important, but today’s growers are looking to the technology for efficiency as well.
For Ag Retailers, Data’s Massive Opportunities Are Yours to Win or Lose, Presented By Skyward Apps and Farmobile
For ag retailers, 2022 looks much like 2021– or possibly worse: price hikes on pretty much everything, labor shortage, supply chain issues, and La Niña, now forecast to last through winter of 2022.
One bright spot for retailers is a crop not subject to razor-thin margins and commoditized pricing. Revenue from data does not end at harvest time. In fact, the value of data is unlimited and multifold, as it can be shared with multiple parties, sold over and over, and compounded each time new data is added, once it’s interoperable.
“Interoperable data is that which can be shared and exported in nonproprietary formats,” explained Bradford Warner, VP of Business Development at Farmobile. “Because it’s not specific to any type of vehicle or any one party, it can fulfill multiple uses across multiple partners. The benefit of interoperability has huge financial implications for retailers and growers.”
The Rhinoceros, 1515, by Albrecht Dürer, woodcut, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
How Machine Learning Can Improve Food Insecurity Predictions
A new study from the University of Illinois explores how machine learning can help improve forecasting when used appropriately.
Carbon Robotics Unveils New LaserWeeder with 30 Lasers to Autonomously Eradicate Weeds
The tractor-towed weeding implement fits in seamlessly with existing farming infrastructure.
Irrigation Technology: Where We Are and Where We’re Going
Conditions are ripe for big leaps in the adoption of some very innovative technology to help growers everywhere be more efficient, more sustainable, and more profitable with their water.
Wing of a European Roller, by Albrecht Dürer, c. 1500 or 1512, watercolour and bodycolour on vellum, Albertina, Vienna
USDA commits $1bn to ‘climate-smart commodities’, AFN, by Jack Ellis
- US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced that the country’s Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $1 billion over the next year into “climate-smart” farming.
- The initiative — Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities — will provide funding for pilot projects that “create market opportunities” for commodities which are “produced using [farming, ranching or forestry] practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon.”
- Successful applicants will receive the funding via the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation, which they will then provide as incentives to producers and landowners.
Global agtech startups seeking US entry praise Cultivo’s personal connections & real-world advice, AFN Sponsored Post
Designed specifically for global startup and scaleup companies that are planning to enter the US marketplace in the next one to three years, Cultivo Virtual Academy has provided a valuable jump-start for founders and leaders who completed the first two cohorts.
In the last six-week virtual program, cohort members interacted with 35 Iowa businesses, universities, and other leaders in presentations and roundtable sessions. In addition, cohort members were connected with another 40 researchers, producer organizations, and more in one-on-one conversations outside the formal virtual programs.
“In six weeks – virtually, no less, and with our peers dialing in from literally across the globe – we managed to meet some of the most established and innovative players in Iowa,” says Katrina Stanislaw, head of region, North America, AgriDigital. “We met with leadership at Corteva, John Deere, and Sukup to start-ups like Rantizo, as well as industry experts at Iowa State University and state producer associations. The list goes on, and we appreciate each and every speaker who took the time to share and brainstorm with us.
AgriDigital was a member of Cohort One in April and May 2021, and the company has continued its market entry progress in the US, including being named in the Final 15 of the FoodBytes! by Rabobank 2021 pitch competition. Cohort Two member BioLevel was also in the Final 15 of the pitch competition.
Each week, experts and cohort members take a deep dive into areas that will be critical for success, including supply chain, regulatory and IP strategies, finance and tax strategies, workforce and immigration, and resources available for building or funding businesses.
“Cultivo is unique in that it focuses specifically on agriculture companies that need go-to-market help and provides real-world advice and resources to establish operations in the US,” said Sumit Verma, CEO and cofounder of India-based Reazant. “The program really provided a very distinct perspective of the US market and we made the connections we needed to get a foothold in the US.”
Head of a Walrus, 1521, by Albrecht Dürer, pen drawing in Indian ink and watercolour on paper, the British Museum, London
Through microfinance, AgroCenta is developing end-to-end solutions for Ghana’s smallholders, AFN, by Lucy Ngige
While working at digital ag company Esoko, AgroCenta co-founders Michael Ocansey and Francis Obirikorang became familiar with bottlenecks in the Ghanaian agricultural supply chain. Among the most glaring issues was that Ghanaian smallholder farmers lacked access to structured markets where they could sell their produce at fair prices.
Instead, farmers had to go through many intermediaries who would buy from them at cutthroat prices – even below 40% or 50% of what the fair market price would be, in desperation to sell. The middlemen would then sell the produce in urban areas making profits of over 200%, Obirikorang tells AFN.
“Farmers in Ghana lose around $290 million annually of potential income due to exploitation by middlemen,” he adds.
At the same time, there was a huge but unmet demand for grain from large consumer goods companies and breweries looking for raw materials locally. However, getting in touch with farmers who could supply them was challenging; let alone finding a large enough pool of farmers who could satisfy the volumes they required.
The corporates would therefore turn to imports from large-scale operations in South Africa and Europe, despite domestic availability and the risk of delays and higher expense.
Obirikorang and Ocansey founded AgroCenta in 2015 to solve both demand and supply problems, leveraging technology to connect the two.
Growth in the US agtech sector can help solve water scarcity challenges, AFN, by guest contributor: Ryan Lefers
According to Crunchbase, at the time of writing there are 699 agtech companies in the US that have successfully completed 993 funding rounds, raising a total of $10.4 billion between them.
While these numbers are impressive, the potential for the businesses represented by these numbers to help tackle agriculture’s biggest challenges could be spectacular.
Some of these challenges are described in a recent report from the Canadian government’s Trade Commissioner Service providing an overview of the US agriculture technology industry, with a focus on Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada – among the driest regions in the country.
The challenges described include the need for a larger global food supply as a result of population growth; changing consumer demographics; an increasing demand for locally produced foods; and the negative impact of climate change on agriculture systems and water availability.
The last point about climate change is significant. Although rain levels have been improving across the US in recent months, 57% of the country is currently experiencing abnormally dry conditions.
Traditional food supply chains could be severely disrupted if this amount of water scarcity becomes the new normal. Across the entire US, 1,942 counties and over 202 million acres of crops are lacking water. Water scarcity is not just about lack of rainfall; aridity, and rapidly increasing demand that outpaces resource supply, are all part of the problem.
This challenge comes on top of other problems farmers face, including pest control and plant disease.
Bat, by Albrecht Dürer, 1522, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK.
Blue economy seen as catalyst for Africa’s economic resurgence, by Richard Wetaya, February 8, 2022
Africa’s much-touted blue economy is primed for growth as the continent’s coastal and island nations tap into marine biotechnology and molecular aquaculture to support renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and other products.
The global marine biotechnology market is expected to grow by US$2.5 billion between 2020-2024, progressing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 8 percent during the forecast period, according to Technavio, a leading global technology research and advisory company.
African nations have the potential to be the new incubators of marine biotechnology, said Dr. Ian Ralby, an expert in maritime law, strategy and the development of the blue economy.
“Mauritius has pioneered blue economy technology activity,” Ralby said in a YouTube presentation. “Kenya also has initiatives taking hold, for instance, inclusive women-focused initiatives developing seaweed as an economic driver. Trying out new, environmentally friendly technologies could be a fantastic way for Africa to have a stake in this new industry.”
In all countries,
people think that their fellow citizens are less happy than themselves
(empathy for the unfortunate people does us a bad trick, but that's fine
Bayer revives plan to introduce new GM cotton seeds in India, By Mayank Bhardwaj, February 11, 2022
Germany's Bayer (BAYGn.DE) has applied to cultivate its next generation of genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds in India, government sources said, reviving plans to bring the high-yielding, herbicide-tolerant variety to the country.
Perspective: Activism is plunging global ag into a black hole, by Amanda Zaluckyj, The Farmer’s Daughter USA, AGDAILY
There are a lot of things I admire about U.S. agriculture. Topping the list is a commitment to innovation, technology, science, and sustainability. It’s the intersection of those four qualities that gives me some hope for the future. Earth faces huge challenges over the next three or four decades, and farmers are poised to lead the solutions.
But as we know, not everyone shares that vision. Most of us are familiar with the names and faces of the activists trying to claw us backwards. And we know the European Union is steeped in anti-scientific sentiment. Unfortunately, some well-funded and organized groups are hoping to export this attitude to Africa.
In fact, there’s a lot of pressure applied to African governments to limit or ban the use of beneficial technologies and pesticides. Well-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — both in the EU and the U.S. — regularly pour millions of dollars into lobbying African nations into adopting policies that reject modern agriculture. They call it “agroecology,” focusing on promoting “culturally sensitive” practices that glorify subsistence farming.
Per capita meat consumption by type, 2017 (source : Our World in Data)
Il biodinamico cancellato dalla legge sul bio. Le ragioni di una “guerra santa”, Di Lorenzo Misuraca - 9 Febbraio 2022
Il giorno dopo lo stop alla Camera, l’Assemblea di Montecitorio ha approvato alla quasi unanimità due emendamenti identici di Riccardo Magi (+Eu) e della commissione che eliminano dal testo l’equiparazione dell’agricoltura biodinamica a quella biologica.
Lion, by Albrecht Dürer, 1522, Albertina Museum, Vienna, Austria.
Progress, humanism, agency. An Intellectual Core for the Progress Movement, by Jason Crawford
I’ve said that we need a new philosophy of progress for the 21st century. This implies that the world needs, not just progress studies, but a progress movement: the advocacy of a set of ideas.
What are those ideas?
I see three premises at the core of this movement: progress, humanism, and agency.
>>> Progress as a historical fact
The starting point and motivation for progress studies is the historical fact of the enormous improvements in material living standards in the last ~200 years. This observation is so generally acknowledged and incontrovertible that Deirdre McCloskey calls it “the Great Fact.” Everyone in the progress community looks back on the last few centuries and concludes that, no matter how we interpret or caveat it, something obviously went very right.
>>> Humanism as the standard of value
Humanism says that the good is that which helps us lead better lives: longer, healthier, happier lives; lives of more choice and opportunity; lives in which we can thrive and flourish. This is the standard proposed, for instance, by Steven Pinker in Enlightenment Now.
>>> A belief in human agency
Agency is the belief that our future is shaped by our choices and actions. We have a large degree of control over our destiny. Thus, continued progress is possible, but not guaranteed.
Progress is messy; solving problems often creates new ones. To believe in human agency is not to deny this, but to believe that the new problems are often better ones to have, and that those problems can be solved in turn.
My identification of these three core ideas is partly descriptive and partly prescriptive. I think these concepts will strongly resonate with most of my readers, but I have chosen and formulated them according to my own beliefs, in a way that I think will form an intellectual basis for a progress movement.
All this leaves a lot of room for discussion, disagreement, and debate, not only of the consequences of these ideas, but even of their definition and interpretation. How much of the last 200 years has been good, exactly? What about war, pollution, inequality? What constitutes human well-being? People desire many things; which of the their desires are legitimate, healthy, valuable? Should we attempt to aggregate well-being (as in utilitarianism); and if not, how do we navigate conflicts between individual interests? Should we include the well-being of animals in our standard? How much control do we have, and how do we manage risks—such as the risks of tinkering with complex systems? These are important questions that I hope we’ll have healthy debates about.
I’ve deliberately left out any explicitly political premises. The progress community includes a variety of political opinions, from libertarians to progressives. Just recently, we’ve had Eli Dourado emphasizing the role of regulations in slowing growth; as the Innovation Frontier Project proposing increased federal spending on R&D in geothermal energy; and Ezra Klein advocating increased economic growth so that there’s more to redistribute to the poor. I would like the concepts of progress, humanism, and agency to serve as common ground from which we can have productive debates. With a shared goal, we can examine what policies and principles actually achieve that goal, and everyone can try to prove their case with history, economics, ethics, and logic.
When Tyler Cowen and Patrick Collison coined the term “progress studies,” they called for a “broad-based intellectual movement focused on understanding the dynamics of progress” and “targeting the deeper goal of speeding it up.” I framed the issue as: “if progress is a moral imperative, it is also a moral imperative to understand its causes, so that we can protect them and reinforce them. We need to ask three questions: How did we get here? … Why did it take so long? … How do we keep it going?”
I think the three ideas I’ve outlined are necessary and sufficient to motivate such an endeavor. Declinism, romanticism, or fatalism would defeat that motivation. But a belief in progress, humanism, and agency entail it.
Tres parapléjicos vuelven a andar un día después de recibir un implante electrónico
Neurocientíficos en Suiza perfeccionan una tecnología que permite a personas con lesiones en la médula espinal recuperar el movimiento en un día.
Una congresista de EE UU confunde la Gestapo con el gazpacho al atacar a la presidenta de la Cámara
La republicana Marjorie Taylor Greene llama a la policía secreta de Hitler con el nombre de la sopa fría de Andalucía para acusar a Nancy Pelosi de espionaje
“En tecnología, la solución no es prohibir, sino conocer a tu hijo”, María Zabala, Periodista de Tecnología
Beetle, by Albrecht Dürer, Animal art, Drawings
When Billy saw Paddy with one of his shoelaces undone, he said, “Watch you don’t trip up over your laces, Paddy.”
Paddy said, “Yeah, it’s these bloody instructions.”
Billy said, “What instructions, Paddy?”
Paddy replies, “Underneath the shoe, it says ‘Taiwan’.”
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