Anyone who invests in the field and in the stable counts on technology that benefits the environment and pays off. This is the result of the VDMA member survey on Agritechnica, the industry's leading trade fair, which ended on Saturday in Hanover.
"There is no way around intelligent machine, process and operator solutions that produce more output with less CO2, nitrogen oxides and ammonia," says VDMA Managing Director Dr. Bernd Scherer.
Economy and ecology are therefore no longer opposites, but two sides of the same efficiency medal. The VDMA sees the growing demand for system solutions as a logical consequence of this development. "Farmers are increasingly demanding digital package solutions. This makes processes tighter and easier to control. As the most important technology partner of the green sector, we are always the first in charge. Thus we are very committed to these responsibilities," says Scherer.
The industry sees the greatest demand for solutions for climate and environmental protection in fuel reduction, crop protection and fertilisation. Adaptive methods for image and pattern recognition, such as those already used in plant care, are taking agriculture to a new level of precision, focusing on the individual plant rather than arithmetic averages. "This opens up a completely new dimension in terms of resource efficiency and economy," explains Scherer.
The same applies to fertilisation, which is now difficult to meet with public acceptance in view of the ongoing debate on nitrates and groundwater.
"Nitrogen sensors, which determine the nutrient requirement of each individual plant on the basis of more than 800 measurements per second, reduce the mineral fertilizer requirement in the double-digit percentage range," says Scherer.
However, the agricultural machinery industry has also presented itself well in the CO2 discussion. "Combined work processes, digitization, lightweight construction and precise engine management ensure fuel savings of between 35 and 40 percent. Anyone who lets the driver steer automatically instead of taking the wheel himself already saves an average of 10 percent diesel," explains Scherer.
However, even the best ideas reach their limits if the framework conditions are not right: "There is still a lot to do in terms of infrastructure," says Scherer. Around three quarters of the manufacturers surveyed by the VDMA agree with this assessment and see the still fragmentary mobile communications infrastructure as the biggest obstacle to the market success of digital process solutions.
In view of the economic slowdown, the mood in the industry as a whole has stabilised at a slightly lower level than in previous years. By contrast, farmers' current investment plans remain at a good level.
More than 60 percent of companies are satisfied with the initiation of new business relationships with German and Western European customers. Business in Eastern Europe is even a little better, while estimates for Asia and America are much more cautious. Nevertheless, the overall assessment of the trade fair is first-class: Almost 90 percent rate the exhibition with the school grades "very good" or "good". "This makes Agritechnica the undisputed leader of the class among international agricultural technology fairs," says Scherer.
The industry is also highly satisfied with the quality of visitors. "Those who come to us usually do so very specifically and know what they want," Scherer sums up. A large majority of the survey participants reported good discussions with customers in this year's trade fair environment.