AGRITECHNICA in Hanover is the global meeting place for the agricultural technology sector, where innovations are presented, trends set, and visions discussed. More than 2800 exhibitors and 460,000 visitors are expected at AGRITECHNICA from 10 to 16 November 2019.
‘Global Farming – Local Responsibility’ is the theme of this year’s AGRITECHNICA. This shows that agriculture is looking towards a sustainable future in which sufficient food can be cultivated for a growing world population while preserving natural resources. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be presenting technologies relating to Smart Farming at this world-leading trade fair.
Visit us at Stand B 24 in Hall 21
Agriculture is essential for society, but it is facing major changes in the 21st century. Farmers must feed a constantly growing global population while preserving scarce natural resources as far as possible. Increasingly extreme weather, limited arable land, changing dietary habits and greater competitive pressures are making this task even more challenging. The use of modern information technology has enormous potential for making agricultural processes even more efficient in the future.
“DLR is an excellent research partner for this progressive, highly innovative sector, and a ‘supplier’ of tangible, innovative solutions. Space services such as satellite-based communications, Earth observation and navigation are already being used more extensively in infrastructure for the digitalisation of agriculture than was previously possible,” says Rolf-Dieter Fisher, Director of DLR Technology Marketing. “Working together with the agricultural sector, we want to develop additional innovative ideas and thus pave the way for future applications – whether in the form of products, services or processes. These might be in the fields of sensor technology, automation or robotics, for example, and will help us to jointly address the key challenges facing agriculture.”
“Alongside research at DLR, the DLR Space Administration promotes the use of space services such as navigation, communications and Earth observation to make digital agriculture more efficient, resource-saving and sustainable,” explains Robin Ghosh, Project Manager of the Space2Agriculture INNOspace network. “The DLR Space Administration represents German space interests both nationally and internationally on behalf of the Federal Government.”
DLR’s themes at AGRITECHNICA:
- C.R.O.P (Combined Regenerative Organic-food Production) – biological processing of manure
- Dionysos – laser-based remote detection of fungal infestations in viticulture
- MikroSil – microwave-based silage monitoring system
- Space2Agriculture INNOspace®-Netzwerk – ‘Space and Agriculture’ network and satellite-based Earth observation for agriculture
Brief overview of DLR research being presented at AGRITECHNICA
C.R.O.P – biological processing of manure
The DLR C.R.O.P.® (Combined Regenerative Organic Food Production) process, developed by the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, combines findings from space research with agricultural sciences and is a promising method for optimising agricultural nutrient cycles in a sustainable and environment-friendly way, while reducing the need for mineral fertilisers.
This process can be used to treat liquid manure to create a fertiliser solution that can be directly absorbed by plants. Using modern microbial filtering technology, manure from cattle and pigs can be processed without the use of chemicals and hazardous substances, with nutrients being converted into stable compounds. The fertiliser solution produced in this way contributes towards soil and water protection and prevents the emission of greenhouse gases and pollutants from arable land. This technology can easily be integrated into existing agricultural operations and, due to its low maintenance requirements, does not entail any additional expense for farmers.
Dionysos – detecting fungi with lasers
The occurrence of harmful fungi in viticulture can lead to major commercial losses. Detecting and combating fungal infestations at an early stage is vital in order to implement targeted countermeasures and restrict the spread at a local level. The Dionysos crop detection system developed by the DLR Institute of Technical Physics is based on laser spectroscopy techniques and is especially designed for use in the contactless detection and classification of fungal infestations on surfaces. DLR researchers want to use this to detect fungal infestations in viticulture at an early stage in order to prevent crop failures and reduce the use of crop protection agents.
Dionysos is a lightweight, compact laboratory demonstrator that enables the detection of fungal infestation in selected places, as well as over large areas in a short period of time. The system has two major advantages. Firstly, it can be used regardless of weather conditions and daylight, while maintaining a high degree of sensitivity. Secondly, it allows the comprehensive and systematic investigation of large areas under cultivation, allowing the implementation of appropriate measures to combat any diseases locally and at an earlier stage, thus improving crop protection and increasing yield.
MikroSil – microwave-based agricultural silage monitoring system
The DLR Microwaves and Radar Institute will be presenting a microwave-based measurement technology for silage monitoring that allows higher-quality animal feed and energy substrates.
MikroSil is designed for the wide-area monitoring of storage processes in silos via a contactless, microwave-based, short-range sensing method. This allows the level of compaction and the moisture content of the silage to be assessed by examining the way in which the microwave radiation interacts with the organic material and residual water in the silage. The optimal density for preservation-optimised storage and fermentation can be determined as a result. If the contents are not stored at the correct density, the quality of the feed is degraded (for example – lower nutrient content, poor flavour, rot). MikroSil is designed to establish the optimal density and moisture content for the silage, thus ensuring high-quality animal feed or energy substrates for biogas plants.
Space2Agriculture – INNOspace® ‘Space and Agriculture’ network
The DLR Space Administration launched the INNOspace® initiative in 2013 to bring the knowledge acquired from aerospace research to other economic sectors. This initiative is part of the German Space and Innovation programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and part of the federal government’s 2025 High-Tech Strategy 2025. The INNOspace® Space2Agriculture network is a new module in the successful INNOspace® initiative and opens up a platform for communications between the space and agriculture sectors. The network aims to establish and strengthen cross-industry networking, identify new opportunities for commercialisation, launch new technological collaborations, and initiate joint funding plans. Exchange with other sectors makes it easier to discover new ideas and promote the active technology transfer of innovative products and processes.
Earth observation – satellite data for agriculture
Observing Earth from space is a key task for the space sector. Changes to land surfaces, oceans and the atmosphere can be detected from space, allowing for the development of protective measures.
The potential applications of Earth observation in the agricultural sector are visually represented on the touch table. Biomass, chlorophyll content and target yield can be precisely determined using satellite data. For this purpose, high-resolution images acquired from Earth orbit during the growth and ripening periods are compared and combined with models. This gives farmers the ability to continuously monitor their land and its biomass and chlorophyll content and allow them to see patterns in their fields and identify the most favourable locations. They can predict the size of the harvest and the optimal time for harvesting. This information helps with fertiliser and irrigation planning and harvest management.
Bright minds for science
Whether on Earth, in the air or in space, DLR offers unique opportunities to conduct research into topics relating to a sustainable future. At the DLR stand, the Personnel Marketing team will be providing insights into this special working environment and advising on career opportunities.