Project

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Reconciling innovative farming practices and networks to enable sustainable development of smart Swiss farming systems

Applicant Finger Robert
Number 172433
Funding scheme NRP 73 Sustainable Economy
Research institution Agricultural Economics Group ETH Zurich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Agricultural Engineering
Start/End 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021
Approved amount 1'089'135.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Agricultural Engineering
Economics
Science of management

Keywords (8)

Agriculture; sustainable agriculture; crop sciences; agricultural economics; diversified farming systems; climate-smart agriculture; imaging technology; agent-based modeling

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
In einem interdisziplinären Team der ETH Zürich untersuchen wir, welche technischen, agronomischen und sozioökonomischen Faktoren eine Nutzung innovativer Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologien für eine nachhaltige Schweizer Landwirtschaft ermöglichen.
Lay summary

Hintergrund
Neue digitale Monitoring-Techniken kombiniert mit automatisierten Datenauswertungsverfahren ermöglichen eine präzisere Anwendung von landwirtschaftlichen Produktionsfaktoren wie Pflanzenschutz- oder Düngemittel. Dadurch kann die Landwirtschaft umweltfreundlicher werden, ohne dass deren Produktivität abnimmt. Nur eine ganzheitliche Betrachtung von technischen, agronomischen und sozioökonomischen Faktoren schafft jedoch die Voraussetzung dafür, dass Mehrwerte für eine nachhaltige Land- und Ernährungswirtschaft realisiert werden.

Ziel
Das Ziel des Projektes ist es, aufzuzeigen, wie die Verbindung von neuen Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologien mit bäuerlichen Kooperationsmodellen zu einer nachhaltigen Entwicklung der Schweizer Landwirtschaft beitragen können. Wir wollen neue Anwendungen für Drohnen im Bereich des Düngereinsatzes aufzeigen und deren Umweltauswirkungen quantifizieren. Darüber hinaus möchten wir Kosten und Nutzen dieser Technologien bestimmen und so eine Entscheidungsgrundlage für Management- und Politikmassnahmen liefern.

 Bedeutung
Anhand von quantitativen Analysen erweitern die Erkenntnisse des Projektes die Wissensbasis für Landwirtinnen und Landwirte, Beratung, Technologieentwicklung und Politik. Mit dem Projekt ermöglichen wir so den verstärkten Einsatz innovativer Lösungen im Landwirtschaftssektor und eröffnen neue Möglichkeiten für die Weiterentwicklung der Agrarpolitik. "InnoFarm" zeigt damit Lösungen für eine effizientere, innovativere und nachhaltigere Nahrungsmittelproduktion in der Schweizer Landwirtschaft auf.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Nous étudions, au sein d’une équipe interdisciplinaire de l’EPF Zurich, les facteurs techniques, agronomiques et socio-économiques qui permettent une utilisation des technologies innovantes de l’information et de la communication en faveur d’une agriculture suisse durable.
Lay summary

Contexte
Les nouvelles techniques de surveillance numériques combinées à des procédés automatisés d’analyse de données permettent une utilisation précise de facteurs de production agricoles, tels que les produits phytosanitaires ou les engrais. Grâce à elles, l’agriculture peut devenir plus écologique, sans que sa productivité n’en souffre. Cependant, seule une approche globale des facteurs techniques, agronomiques et socio-économiques peut réunir les conditions nécessaires à la création de valeur ajoutée pour le secteur agroalimentaire.

Objectifs
L’objectif du projet est de démontrer de quelle manière la conjonction des nouvelles technologies de communication et d’information et des modèles agricoles de coopération peut contribuer à un développement durable de l’agriculture suisse. Nous cherchons à identifier de nouvelles applications pour les drones dans l’utilisation des engrais et à quantifier leurs impacts environnementaux. Par ailleurs, nous aimerions déterminer les coûts et avantages de ces technologies et fournir ainsi une base de décision pour l'adoption de mesures politiques et de gestion.

Importance
À l’aide d’analyses quantitatives, les enseignements tirés de ce projet permettent d’élargir la base de connaissances utile à l’agriculture, au conseil, au développement technologique et au milieu politique. Avec ce projet, nous permettons le recours accru aux solutions innovantes dans le secteur agricole et créons de nouvelles pistes de développement pour la politique agricole. "InnoFarm" présente donc des solutions qui encouragent une production de denrées alimentaires plus durable, plus innovante et plus efficace dans l’agriculture suisse.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
In an interdisciplinary team at the ETH Zurich, we are studying the technical, agricultural and socio-economic factors that facilitate the use of innovative information and communication technologies for a sustainable Swiss agriculture.
Lay summary

Background
New digital monitoring methods combined with automated data evaluation procedures enable a more precise application of agricultural production factors, such as pesticides or fertilisers. Thus, agriculture can become more environmentally friendly without a drop in productivity. However, only a holistic consideration of technical, agronomic and socio-economic factors can create the prerequisites for achieving added value in sustainable agricultural and food production.

Aims
The main aim of the project is to demonstrate how combining new information and communication technologies with farm-based cooperation models can contribute towards the sustainable development of Swiss agriculture. We want to identify new applications for drones in applying fertilisers and quantify their environmental impacts. In addition, we want to determine the costs and benefits of these technologies and thus provide a decision-making basis for management and policy makers.

Importance
Using quantitative analyses, the project’s findings will expand the knowledge base for farmers, advisers, technology developers and politicians. With this project, we are enabling the increased use of innovative solutions in the agricultural sector and opening up new opportunities for the further development of agricultural policy. ”InnoFarm” demonstrates solutions for more efficient, more innovative and more sustainable food production in Swiss agriculture.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
FluxNet United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Agroscope - Forschungsbereich Wettbewerbsfähigkeit und Systembewertung Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Schaepman, Uni Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Annual Conference of the Swiss Society for Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Talk given at a conference Can smart farming contribute to more sustainable agriculture? 12.04.2018 Gränichen, Switzerland Huber Robert; Buchmann Nina; Walter Achim; Finger Robert;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
173691 ICOS-CH Phase 2 01.07.2017 Research Infrastructure
170890 Theoretical foundations and empirical specification of decision rules in agricultural agent-based modelling approaches: Current state and future prospects 01.12.2016 International Exploratory Workshops
154245 Robust models for assessing the effectiveness of technologies and managements to reduce N2O emissions from grazed pastures (Models4Pastures) 01.12.2014 FACCE Joint Programming Initiative
169542 PhenoCOOL: Wheat and soybean phenotyping under cold conditions using growth as a dynamic trait 01.01.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)
164790 Influence of Farming on Biodiversity and Climate Change: Participatory Research on Farms (PubliFarm) 01.09.2016 Agora

Abstract

Agriculture needs to produce food while at the same time reducing environmental impacts and supporting the provision of ecosystem services. Approaches to tackle this challenge also need to be societal and political acceptable in order to promote a sustainable agri-food sector. Innovative farming practices such as precision agriculture, use of spatially explicit data, climate-smart agriculture and new emerging technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles are seen as key drivers to increase agricultural production, improve farmer’s incomes and reduce environmental impacts. However, the adoption and diffusion of these technologies in small-scale Swiss farming systems is constrained by high investment costs and low efficiency due to structural and environmental characteristics. Our proposed project aims to contribute to an increase of resource efficiency, economic viability and to strengthen cohesion of diversified farming systems in Swiss agriculture by introducing innovative farming practices, new management and network systems as well as innovative policies. The main goal is to investigate how innovative farming practices, new technologies and data can be aligned with new forms of networks to allow for a sustainable development of small-scale, diverse Swiss agricultural farming systems.Only the integration of technology, diversity, networking and institutions, i.e. markets and policies, enables us to transform new technologies into an era of smart farming. Our project thus integrates new knowledge on the environmental outcomes of agricultural production through spatially explicit airborne and ground level measurements and agent-based modeling of technology adoption. Moreover, the transdisciplinary focus of our project characterized by an integration of various stakeholders ensures that the results of our project are applicable for industry, extension services and policy makers. Thus, the interdisciplinary understanding of processes of adoption and diffusion of innovative farming practices allows depicting clear entry points for technological developments and modernization of the agricultural sector and supports the implementation of innovative management and policy options. The integrated assessment of economic, environmental and societal impacts of innovative farm practices adoption addressed in this project fosters the contribution of the agricultural sector towards a sustainable economy.
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