Traditionally, precision agriculture has been characterised by significant equipment investment and costs related to usage. Nowadays, with more than half of satellite navigation-enabled tractors equipped with EGNOS, the affordable precision solution EGNOS offers is already used in the precision agriculture sector.
This market is growing steadily with more than 90% of satellite navigation-enabled tractors to be equipped with this type of technology by 2020 (meaning global annual shipments of circa 500 000 units).
The benefits brought by EGNOS are manifold:
- Used for low-value crop cultivation and low-accuracy operations, it allows automatic steering guidanceeven in bad weather conditions and therefore reduces overlaps and driver’s fatigue.
- Combined with a satellite image analysis, the one meter accuracy provided by EGNOS allows anoptimised variable rate application of fertilisers and herbicides and thus help protect the environment against chemicals’ over-application.
- When equipped with an EGNOS-enabled helmet, individual livestock may be tracked and confined to a limited area. This “virtual fencing” brings more flexibility in the design and modification of this area and reduces fence’s costs of maintenance.
- Food traceability is also enhanced with the addition of timing and location of harvest period through a unique land parcel identification, into the automated registration of products.
- EGNOS may also be used for the management and control of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). With its enhanced accuracy, the farmer can be confident in his fields’ measurement when applying for a CAP aid or for mapping and updating fields’ boundaries. The same for the CAP inspectors when carrying out on-the-spot checks to control the applications registered.
In this context, the European Commission acts in order to raise the awareness of precision agriculture stakeholders about EGNOS and Galileo advantages. It also works on optimised CAP rules to make use of EGNOS capabilities.
(Source – http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/satnav/galileo/applications/agriculture/index_en.htm)