There is an increasing significance of precision farming in the field crop production nowadays. The reason for this is, that the environmentally friendly farming and the success of competitive aspects can be materialised most efficiently by the use of this technology.
KITE Zrt. is the biggest agricultural integrator in Hungary. Its main activities are the sales and service of agricultural and technical input materials, crop trade as well as the sales and service of investment products. With its complex agronomical and technological commercial offers and innovative services, KITE Zrt. plays a pioneering role in the modernisation of agriculture today.
The development of the precision farming system is a priority area of the R&D activities at KITE Zrt. This is the complex entirety of such technological, information technology and cultivation methods which make the field crop production, the operation of machinery and field management processes more efficient.
The target audience of the service are the farmers who cultivate plants in fields and they can choose from three types of packaged depending on their needs. The KITE Zrt. has established its Precision
Farming System with the following objectives:
- It must be extendible to larger areas ( the aim for 2020 is 1 million hectare arable land);
- It must be easy to understand for the farmers, user friendly;
- Can be developed regularly and compatible with other information systems;
- Provide additional revenue.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned priorities, KITE Zrt has been carrying out continuous developments over the last 8 years and spending EUR 3-6 million yearly on precision farming. Within this framework, in 2011, the RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) network was established which provides stable GPS signal correction service for 95% of the Hungarian arable land. By October 2018, 1800 devices have been sold for agricultural machinery (tractors, combines, self-propelled sprayers etc) that are able to handle the displayed signals. The Digital Agronomical Strategy has been developed in Hungary.
A significant part of this is the advisory service, in which KITE does pioneering work. Our aim is, that in addition to the efficient use of the available RTK network and technological-technical devices, and there should be possibility for:
- Carrying out operations without overlap and skip omitting sections,
- Separate lines and spaces during the use of technological elements,
- Differentiated and positioned applications (artificial fertiliser, crops),
- Reduction in the number of interventions needed during the implementation of agro technology through connected steps (seedbed preparation, planting, strip spraying in one).
In order to achieve the objectives set out, it is necessary to increase efficiency on the use of the available machinery (presently we only utilise 20% of the knowledge of the machines). Training each participant of the chain is also essential.
KITE Zrt organises a number of different training sessions: from sessions for machine operators in small groups locally through individualised ones, agronomical and leadership training, Precision Farming Conferences to field demonstrations.
KITE Zrt. places strong emphasis on the development of digital skills for students in secondary schools, in higher education and even at PhD level.
The training of the demonstrated RTK system and precision farming is conducted to students of 6 technical schools, part of a dual education system, with KITE Zrt. providing an accredited training location. KITE Zrt. has connections with all agronomical higher educational institutions and a number of KITE employees teach precision farming at Universities. KITE's advisory service enables the fine-tuning of machinery, the implementation of the positioned and dosage controlled input materials management and the documentation of their agronomical effects.
Following the automated processing of the documented data there are possibilities for the complex execution of agronomical (nutrient management), technological (field management) and economical (investment cost-effectiveness) planning processes for the farmers using the advisory service.
Three elements of KITE Precision Farming:
- Technical solutions are provided by our suppliers;
- Agro technology are provided by KITE know-how;
- Information management: KITE+suppliers.
The technological, telemetric data, agronomical and economical maps that are processed during the advisory service are displayed on the www.precazd.hu portal. The advisory services introduced above started in 2016 and took place on 40,000 hectare. In 2018, it increased to 150,000 hectare. The Digital Educational Platform that is under development takes place in cooperation with the Digital Future Foundation.
In field of crop production, environmental awareness is expected to be growing with the help of the increasing usage of digital devices (e.g. input variable rate should be taken place site-specifically instead of the method based on averaging). In addition, according to the principle of necessity and satisfaction, it is possible for boosting the capability for competitiveness (e.g. from the point of view of crop production it is available for keeping the optimal time intervals with the help of work process going through connected operations steps).
In the frame of professional consultancy processes established by KITE Zrt. it is feasible to operate such a system for great fields (the aim is 1 million hectares), even extendable for more countries, which is simply understandable, user friendly, substantive for practice, producing surplus incomes.
The system is unique from the point of view of mechanical engineering, because nowadays they perform advancements for industrial engineering, operational safety and informational technology. Moreover, on the basis of computer science IT companies try to process great volumes of data formed in the agriculture with the help of automated systems. There is not such a system on the market today which considers a priority for the agronomical (production technology) questions.
Other important factor is that in the frames of the consultancy system created by KITE Zrt. we give technical advice not only for one of the mechanical engineering devices but also all producers’ portfolios have been involved.
The sustainability of the above-mentioned service is also a demand from KITE Zrt’s point of view, since the subsidised time interval lasts until 2020 in the running GINOP project. Then until the 31st of December 2027, KITE Zrt is obliged to keep up the service as a follow-up activity in the frames of the follow-up period of the project. What is more, it is bound to happen that concerning the attitude change in agriculture the application of the previously introduced technology is unavoidable. The latest technological improvements (i.e. agronomical, technical and informational technological) need to be equally built into the consultancy system besides taking the criteria of competitiveness into account. For this aim at present KITE Zrt.’s human resources available, run over 70 employees. So far, our company have been spending EUR 3-6 million per year for this objective, which will be expected to be increasing further in the next years.