Results from the AIA show the economic strengths of Precision Agriculture

CleverFarm just finished up the 2nd year of their annual Agricultural Innovation
Academy
(AIA), whose goal is to inform farmers about the benefits of using modern
technology within the framework of Precision Agriculture. During the previous year,
27 companies from across the Czech Republic gathered to see unique test
scenarios carried out on over 105 plots of land. The results were clear: modern
agricultural practices are profitable – especially from the reduction of material costs
and an increase in yields.

The results of last year’s pilot program are pulled straight from data collected on the 105
plots of land. In addition to on-site demonstrations, co-organizers Mendel University, Gisat,
Strom Praha, and Syngenta briefed the attendees on the latest news and trends regarding
Precision Agriculture.

The data and evaluations that we received during the AIA gave us a lot of information
about the plots of land that the demonstrations were carried out on. This includes the final
revenues from the crops, the amount of money saved in material costs, and other
important metrics achieved by the participants. We took into account some variance for
different contributing factors including drought levels, soil quality, and weather conditions.
But all in all, participating companies enjoyed, on average, increased yields of about 0.2
tons per hectare more than the previous year (evaluated at about €28/ha). Large
companies implementing our approach were able to produce 0.6 tons/ha more than that
of neighboring lands.

The next steps for the AIA consists of calculating savings per hectare of farmland. These
metrics are probably even more of an interest to local farmers, considering their slight
skepticism to a push towards more sustainable farming methods. We’re happy to say that
our demonstrations showed great results in this metric as well.

Variable-rate seeding, one of the practices demonstrated during the event, saved about €4
/ ha. One of our participants, the Astur Straskov farm, saved about €8.5/ha when
compared to other organizations with similarly rated credit-worthiness of the land. We saw
the largest impact in the precise application of nitrogen fertilizers, with savings along the
lines of €4-12/ha. The benefits aren’t strictly economic, it also helps keep the soil in peak
condition, enabling multiple seasons of better crops. This is a key tenant to Precision
Agriculture: it’s not only about one harvest, but about long-term practices with
compounding benefits that pay off year after year. This makes it important to get started
right away.