Students and young farmers across Europe are encouraged to enter a new competition and submit their innovative ideas for using satellite technology in agriculture to improve production, efficiency, profit and to reduce environmental impact.
The competition will promote the use of
the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) in agriculture and its benefit to end users.
The €10,000 ‘Farming by Satellite Prize’ is an initiative of the European GNSS Agency (GSA), the EU agency responsible for European satellite activities, and is sponsored by CLAAS, a manufacturer of agricultural engineering equipment and crop protection experts Bayer CropScience.
The aim of the competition is to promote the use of satellite navigation in agriculture and its benefits to end users. Individuals or teams can contribute new ideas and innovations, particularly those relying upon European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and the forthcoming GALILEO system.
Gian-Gherardo Calini, Head of Market Development at the GSA says: “Entries can be about any type of agriculture in any part of Europe. We anticipate the participation of a combination of young working farmers and growers as well as students of farming, horticulture and life sciences. It costs nothing to enter, and we are particularly keen to see entries that increase the focus on farm types and places where the use of satellite navigation has not yet taken off.”
Full details on the competition are available at www.farmingbysatellite.eu. Interested parties should register before 31st October to receive a full briefing pack and be prepared to submit their ideas by 31st December 2012.
The prize also has its own facebook page and twitter account: www.twitter.com/FbS_prize
About the Prize
The competition will promote the use of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) in agriculture and its benefit to end users. Entries must therefore clearly demonstrate how the use of GNSS is either a) already realizing significant benefits to users or b) could enable new innovative services in the near future. Particular attention should be paid to the additional value offered by EGNOS in providing a free-to-air higher accuracy augmentation to GPS and the new GALILEO satellite service. Note also that EGNOS will be extended eastwards towards central Europe during 2012.
Types of entry
Entries may take any of the following forms:
1. Success stories of the application of GNSS and Precision Agriculture (PA) or related ideas and innovations in different countries and farm types. These could include one or more of the following:
ii. Field scale vegetables
iv. Logistics for agriculture
v. Telematics for agriculture
vi. Mobile Solutions/Egnos based Apps for agriculture
vii. Egnos/Galileo based case studies and/or business models relating to agriculture
2. Technical proposals for equipment/software/systems applied to different crops/farm types. You can propose a new product or products, describe their production and use and potential results.
3. Applications for small farms and/or cooperative groups. This approach would involve simplified applications of GNSS and PA to farm situations with limited size and resources.
4. Wide area application of GNSS. This approach would involve mapping exercises using GIS (using ArcView or open source software). Using country data, the report would show where the technology can be applied to different farm types and predict changes in production and market supply, together with changing revenue and incomes. Data can be obtained from FAOSTAT and other sources.
Entries must be submitted in electronic format. All entries must be presented in English or (in the case of video entries) with English subtitles. All entries must include:
a. A full description (maximum 5,000 words) written in MS Word or Open Office Writer.
The following additional formats are encouraged. Select the format that best supports your prize idea:
b. A short video (maximum 15 minutes) demonstrating the idea and incorporating: dialogue and/or field footage and/or computer screen recording (.MP4 or .FLV).
c. An MS Powerpoint or Open Office Impress slideshow.
d. A computer model (using MS Excel or Open Office Calc) to predict yield and profit responses to different fertilizer, chemical and water inputs. Calculations and dose-response curves in different situations with different levels and prices.A linear programming calculation of optimum inputs and outputs.
The entry should be supported by references and justification for values used.
Who is eligible?
The competition is open to all students and young people below the age of 32 studying or resident in any of the following countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
About EGNOS and precision farming
EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is essentially Europe's ‘pre-GALILEO' system, its first concrete venture into satellite navigation. EGNOS is to deliver services based on GPS and GLONASS signals, providing augmentation signals re-transmitted by geostationary satellites and a network of ground stations.
EGNOS augments the available satellite systems, Increasing accuracy from several meters to meter-precision absolute resp. 15-13cm path to path accuracy.
Efficient and sustainable farming solutions are needed now more than ever, as competition in the agriculture industry continues to increase and production costs have to be considered very carefully.
Precision agriculture is a highly effective farming strategy that allows farmers to allocate inputs better (e.g. seeds and fertilisers) and to increase productivity, while lowering costs and minimising environmental impact. Traditionally, the main obstacle to wide scale application of precision agriculture has been the substantial investment in equipment and services necessary to implement these methods and to obtain concrete results. Now, the EGNOS Open Service has fundamentally changed the equation by offering high precision at low cost.
The main advantages of GNSS technologies in agriculture include accuracy (higher than what a human alone can achieve) and repeatability of the same action year after year, thanks to the ability to record data. These two fundamental advantages lead, in turn, to valuable benefits from the farmer's perspective:
- Reduction of waste and over-application of fertilisers and herbicides;
- Reduced seed consumption;
- Fuel savings;
- Time savings;
- Reduced fatigue;
- Extended equipment life due to an optimised usage;
- Optimisation of crop yields.
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