Dr. Bernd Scherer, Managing Director of the VDMA Agricultural Machinery Association
The agricultural machinery industry mounts a digital offensive. At Agritechnica, the leading trade fair for the agricultural machinery industry, which took place from 12 to 18 November, farmers and contractors from all over the world showed enthusiasm for interlinked machinery and intelligent software systems. “The machinery and software portfolio in the industry is increasingly enabling a seamless computer-aided value chain in agribusiness”, says VDMA Managing Director Dr. Bernd Scherer.
Efficiency and environmental compatibility are no longer mutually exclusive. “Marketable agricultural products are increasingly also sustainable products. The farmers’ most important technology partner, the agricultural machinery industry, stands for innovation and responsibility,” explains Scherer. New methods of applying plant protection products “not only enable precise application to the nearest centimetre but also focus individually on each plant.” But algorithm-based farming goes even further: Condition analysis, spreading and documentation go hand in hand if farm management systems are used. Digital farming represents a completely new form of process management and control.
“It is a fact that digital high-tech solutions have long since left the prototype stage”, says the VDMA Managing Director. “Agritechnica exhibits practical machinery for rough field operation and not just showcases. According to a current VDMA study, digital solutions play a decisive role for a good two thirds of arable farms in their investment planning. “German farmers are, however, not the only digital pioneers. The transformation of agribusiness is visible all over the world, even in emerging countries”, says Scherer.
The mood in the agricultural machinery industry has reached its highest level.
94 percent of those surveyed currently see Western Europe as the leader of the global agricultural machinery markets, according to the VDMA exhibitor survey carried out in the trade fair setting. They are similarly optimistic regarding the situation in Eastern Europe, where a promising market development is also expected for the coming year. The assessment is slightly more cautious for North America. “But here too, 65 percent of the polled VDMA members expect a quick return to positive growth,” says Scherer.
The organisation as well as the quality of visitors and talks at the trade fair generally receive top marks. “Once again, Hanover was worthwhile for the agricultural machinery industry”, Scherer emphasises. A substantial 95 percent of the enterprises give Agritechnica 2017 “good” or “very good” marks. Scherer says that Agritechnica’s “international face” is becoming increasingly important. “The fact that today 60 percent of the exhibitors have an international background shows that we are on the right path. In the long term, only those who are equipped for the international stage will be successful”, he continues.
Naturally, it was easier for the industry to establish new business relations in such a positive situation. “Here the economic development plays right into our hands”, says Bernd Scherer. A good 90 percent of the survey participants are very satisfied with customer talks in the trade fair environment this year.