The use of Galileo and EGNOS for agriculture can help farmers become more efficient, reduce their use of chemicals and increase crop yields. By increasing the accuracy, availability and reliability of satellite signals, EGNOS and Galileo will remove barriers to precision agriculture and smart farming. From farm machinery guidance (including autonomous operations), to yield and soil condition monitoring, livestock tracking and forest management, GNSS applications are used across all phases of the agricultural value chain.
Increased integration of farm management systems with space-based services, such as GNSS and Earth Observation, thus offer farmers the possibility to maximise the performance of their farms.
For instance, farmers may use Galileo or EGNOS for Variable Rate Application (VRA). VRA uses GNSS sensors, aerial images, and other information management tools to determine optimum herbicide doses, fertiliser requirements and other inputs. For instance, this allows that only those sections of a field with weeds will be treated with a herbicide. Farmers can then save money, reduce environmental impacts and increase crop yields.
The impact of precision agriculture and smart farming practices in Asia-Pacific has high potential, given the pressing needs for improved yields and increased automation. Countries such as India and China have rapidly growing populations, while countries such as Japan are experiencing shortages of farmers due to an ageing population and changing demographics.
Beyond improvements in efficiency, Galileo and EGNOS can also support the agricultural industry by helping farmers to comply with new regulations and standards via the real-time monitoring and management of machinery and assets, as well as offering geo-traceablity of food, animals, chemical use and products.
The potential of precision agriculture and smart farming extends across many applications, including:
- Tractor and harvester guidance
- Variable ploughing, seeding and spraying
- Mechanical weeding
- Virtual fencing
- Land parcel identification and geo-traceability
- Post harvest pick-up
- Supervised tracking of livestock
- Field measurements
- Field boundary mapping and updating
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Source: GSA GNSS Market Report 2017