The ICT-AGRI ERA-NET project iFAROS (Decision Support for Optimized Site-Specific Fertilization based on Multi-source Data and Standardized Tools) officially started in September 2018. The project aims at increasing agronomic productivity and environmental performance in winter wheat for small European farmers by combining data from the remote sensing and agricultural data from the whole-field operations. The iFAROS envisages field experiments in four participating countries: Germany, Spain, Belgium, and Switzerland.
The consortium is working towards reaching several objectives: development of a novel cloud-based application that would act as an intelligent middleware with data analytic capabilities; creation of application maps for VRA of fertilizers and yield prediction; development of an easy-to-understand advanced FMS; and development of dedicated hardware to achieve an automated application of a site-specific management fertilizer application map by utilizing ISOBUS.
The project is working with several data types: machine data, remote-sensing data produced by UAVs, and soil data that are obtained from wireless sensor networks installed in the field. Operating with multi-source data involves the necessity to consider the challenges of data ownership and privacy in agriculture. Questions around data ownership, access and control raise many concerns among scientists, industry, governments, NGOs as well as among farmers who often put themselves in a big risk by providing access to their farm data. Therefore, besides the technological developments and implementation, the iFAROS project aims at providing a clear framework of the data value chain for all actors involved. An important step was done in this direction in November 2019 at Hannover Agritechnica fair. A workshop ‘Modern Technologies in Agriculture: Adoption on Farms and Problems of Data Sharing’ was organized and gathered several different stakeholders, including farmers. As a result of productive discussions, the main problems regarding data sharing were identified and the next steps towards the project’s realization in this direction were set.
At the moment (spring 2020), the second fertilization of winter wheat is taking place. The application maps were designed and are currently in use. Also, manual biomass measurements took place as ground truth. This information will allow calibrating the drone images to improve the quality of the application maps. At the end of the project, a complete solution, including onboard hardware, online FMS and analytical tools will be developed.