Sensor and data driven plant growing illustrating the technical, organisational and economic aspects of precision farming for farm development.
Farkas Ltd. was established in 2003 with an objective of testing and if that proves to be effective, implementing data driven solutions of precision farming. The problem was how to provide for optimised and effective plant growing based on data measured. Farkas Ltd. is good example for showcasing development and use experiences gained during 17 years of precision agriculture ranging from a manufacturing type of IT development and data management to the complex, decision supporting Management Information System.
Initially company staff took measurements of different soil macro and mezzo elements and for processed the “manually” collected information by its own software background. This process was coupled with hardware development to deliver precision soil testing, differentiated nutrient supply and weed control. The whole system was operating and continuously developed from 2005 on and from 2007, was applied for wheats (maize, sunflower, etc.). Obtained data was recorded manually, being several times measured and recorded during one production period. From 2013 the “AgroVir”, i.e. a Management Information System integrates all data obtained at different places of production (ploughing, sowing, weeding, harvesting, selling) has been in service for better economic decisions.
Main stakeholders are agricultural university, IT service and agricultural machinery suppliers, commercial bank. Indirect beneficiaries are farms facing similar precision farming challenges.
Financial Information is not available,
Partners of Farkas Ltd. are: University of West Hungary, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences; IT service providers and suppliers of agricultural machinery, commercial credit provider banks.
Evidence of success
As local Good Practice, its importance is national: showcases how an agrarian company with 630 hectares (440 hectares own property, 190 hectares land lease – it is in a Hungarian terms a middle size farm in cereals value chain) can operate a data driven agricultural production in environmentally friendly and economically sound manner.
Farkas Ltd. is a reference point to smaller agricultural producers to showcase practical application and benefits of data driven, integrated precision farming.
Precision farming economic figures are more effective than of traditional production, but benefit is not reaped at wholesale/stock exchange.
Environment protection benefits are obvious, but are not reflected by market prices.
In organisational terms vision driven, courageous management is needed.
Potential for learning or transfer
Farkas Ltd. Good Practice has focus on technical, organisational and economic aspects of precision farming. It is also good example of agricultural, data based development for an agrarian company who operates among modest financial circumstances but eager to pilot new technologies. This means that precision, data based farming in plant growing is not privilege of large-scale farms and large enterprises.
The technology is widely available across Europe by several IT and machine suppliers. Despite the whole process is automated, based on integrated use of the data available, managing director Mr. István Farkas underlines that the most important phase is – if can be identified at all – the nutrient management plan being in comparison with the planned yields. The applied hardware – tractors, fertilizer spreaders, sprayers, for example – is linked to the point measurement based company operation IT system that enables less pollutant and effective operation of Farkas Ltd.