AGCO plans to build a test farm in Casselton, North Dakota, with the aim of developing innovative, sustainable farming practices.
The 300-acre site will specifically host growers, startups, corporations, researchers, and education programs that will focus on precision agriculture technologies and high-value retrofit solutions. The addition of the site will make AGCO an anchor tenant at Grand Farm’s Innovation Campus.
Grand Farm, founded in 2017, is a network of various contributors to the agricultural sector that work together towards solving various challenges currently facing the industry.
The development of the site, named the “Dakota Smart Farm,” also follows AGCO’s purpose of providing farmers with solutions that help sustainably feed our growing world.
“AGCO is excited to build the Dakota Smart Farm and dedicate resources to developing sustainable agricultural practices and new technology,” said Seth Crawford, senior vice president and general manager of precision agriculture and digital for AGCO. “By combining the power of precision agriculture with retrofit technologies, we can enable more farmers to achieve higher productivity, profitability, and sustainability.”
How Precision Agriculture and Retrofit Technologies Boost Sustainable Agriculture
Precision agriculture allows farmers to analyze data gathered from sensors, tractors, and satellites, providing information on matters such as crop health and fertilizer use. The technology’s ability to track and reduce fertilizer loss is especially helpful as nitrogen fertilizer contributes to water pollution and is a major expense for farmers.
Retrofitting allows farmers to implement precision farming technologies to their preexisting machinery. This makes switching to precision farming practices easier and more cost effective since there is no need to entirely replace their equipment.
Precision agriculture has been identified as a major contributor to combatting climate change. Agriculture reportedly accounts for 24% of global emissions, making it the second largest contributor next to the energy sector. The World Economic Forum estimates that if just 15-25% of farms adopted precision agriculture, emissions, and water use could be reduced by 10% and 20%, respectively, while increasing yield by 10-15% at the same time.
Precision agriculture has also been found to reduce herbicide use, prevent soil degradation, and find new ways to use cropland acreage more efficiently. Research and innovation hosted at the new Dakota Smart Farm will help further improve these existing benefits and add new technologies to the growing field.