For farmers, EGNOS provides high precision for 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. The use of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) is well established in the agricultural sector, and EGNOS-enabled receivers are available on the market.
The FieldFact project demonstrated how farmers can employ EGNOS to improve precision farming techniques. FieldFact’s work found that EGNOS and Galileo can be used in precision farming for:
- Tractor guidance and implement guidance
- Variable ploughing, seeding and spraying
- Mechanical weeding
- Cow fertility detection
- Virtual fencing
- Land parcel identification and geo-traceability
- Post harvest pick-up
- Supervised tracking of livestock
- Field measurements
- Field boundary mapping and updating
By providing a verifiable way of documenting the parcel of land on which a crop was grown, EGNOS can also fulfil the increasing demand from consumers and food regulators for traceability.
David van der Schans, a scientist of applied research at Wageningen University and a member of the FieldFact team, says the average farm crop often has a high degree of variability in quality, even if from the same field. A more homogeneous crop has a higher commercial value.
The use of GNSS for automated hoeing could provide up to a 30% reduction in the amount of labour needed for organic farming, his studies indicated. Other applications include using GNSS to adapt the spacing of the crop according to the clay content of a particular location to achieve a more homogeneous quality.
More information is available here.