Digitalisation offers many opportunities for agriculture. It can help to increase the productivity and to use resources more efficient, but also to reduce the risks for environment and human health. The Institute for Application Techniques in Plant Protection conducts continuous and systematic research on the use of digital methods in agriculture.
New test methods for new types of agricultural equipment
Innovative application techniques such as methods for site-specific application, drones (UASS) and spraying robots require constant development of test methods. Evaluation parameters and test facilities have to adapt to enable the use in practice as well as the control of used equipment. New test methods must subsequently be harmonised internationally within the framework of standardization. In addition, efficacy and drift tests may be required for risk assessment during the authorisation process.
Digital tools for site-specific treatment
Digital technologies can help to improve the entire process of crop protection through decision support tools and automated documentation. Together with research partners, the institute is developing systems that support farmers in planning, preparing, implementing and documenting crop protection treatments. This allows to use pesticides more efficiently. All machine, weather and application data can be stored georeferenced and used for documentation purposes.
Spot Farming is a crop farming idea to implement sustainable intensification of crop production and at the same time a plant fitness program to make cropping systems more resilient to climate change. The goal is to produce more yield with fewer resources and make crops more resilient to weather extremes while also addressing social and environmental needs.
Spot farming focuses on three levels: the individual plant, the field crop, and the surrounding landscape.
Within these three levels, the spot farming seeks to optimize on four core issues. These are, in detail:
1. improved allocation of crops to site conditions
2. improved spatial and temporal management patterns
3. more efficient use of agrochemicals
4. strengthening functional structures in the agricultural landscape.