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Intervitis Interfructa Hortitechnica

Germany: Experience technological trends for special crops live

As in many other areas of the economy, digitalisation has long made its entry into the cultivation of crops such as grapes, asparagus, strawberries and hops. "Smart farming" is the name of the mega-trend that promises farmers more efficient harvesting and thus greater yields. In 2016, Intervitis Interfructa Hortitechnica will present the entire technology for wine, juice and special crops – from cultivation to processing and marketing. On 60,000 square metres of exhibition space, the event organisers expect over 600 international exhibitors and around 36,000 visitors from Germany and abroad. The trade fair will therefore be the most important meeting for the sector in 2016 also for the theme of special crops.
Automatic machine control for weed regulation
The automatic steering of machines in the field is approaching practical maturity for use in agriculture. In addition to the GPS signal from a navigation system, the reference signal from an RTK station (real time kinematic) is used on the ground in order to actively support the driver with the steering. This precise navigation is, for example, the basis for efficiently suppressing undesired growth. Positioning systems switch off the spraying jets precisely where no herbicide is required. This is relevant, for example, for fields in which not all crop rows are fully laid out in parallel lines. Up to 18 per cent of a plant protection agent can be saved in this way. At the same time, an increasingly accurate sensor-based weed detection system simplifies the mechanical elimination of undesired plants.
Sensor fusion for optimised irrigation
Temperature, air humidity, soil moisture or growth status of the plants: In order to automate the irrigation of crops in a greenhouse, a whole series of parameters must be established and evaluated. The correct interaction between various measurement sensors is decisive. The so-called sensor fusion is an important area of development. The central question is: How must the information from different sensors be weighted in order to ensure optimum irrigation?
Linked data for more stringent fertiliser regulations
It is almost two years since the EU Commission initiated contract violation proceedings against Germany on account of the inadequate implementation of its groundwater protection directive. This provided the impetus for the German Ministries for Food and Agriculture and for the Environment to prepare an amendment to fertiliser regulations. The law has not yet been passed. However, it is expected that farmers will in future have to comply with more stringent limits. A possible solution here could be so-called sub-area-specific fertilisation, based on "big data analyses": Information from, among other things, ground maps, nutrient maps, yield maps from previous years and current sensor data from biomass sensors or remote sensing data are combined in order to determine the necessary fertiliser quantity.
The new home for special crops in Stuttgart

By means of these and other developments in cultivation, processing, packaging and marketing, visitors to Intervitis Interfructa Hortitechnica in Stuttgart can obtain information and experience the technology live in the machinery demonstrations.
Please visit for more information.
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