A EUR 10,000 cash prize is on offer to agricultural students and young farmers across Europe. The ‘Farming by Satellite’ award, an initiative of the GSA is sponsored by agricultural machinery manufacturer CLAAS and crop science experts Bayer.
The EUR 10,000 Farming by Satellite Prize is open to students and young farmers across Europe with innovative ideas for using satellite technology in agriculture to improve production, efficiency and profit or reduce environmental impact.
The aim of the competition is to promote the use of satellite navigation in agriculture and its benefits to end users. Individuals or teams can contribute new ideas and innovations: in particular, ideas relying on the current European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and forthcoming Galileo system.
Gian-Gherardo Calini, Head of Market Development at the GSA said: “Entries can be about any type of agriculture in any part of Europe. We anticipate the participation of a combination of young working farmers and growers as well as students of farming, horticulture and life sciences. It costs nothing to enter, and we are particularly keen to see entries that increase the focus on farm types and places where the use of satellite navigation has not yet taken off.”
The competition aims to promote the use of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) in agriculture and its benefit to end users. Entries must therefore clearly demonstrate how the use of GNSS is already realising significant benefits to users or could enable new innovative services in the near future. The organisers highlight the additional value offered by EGNOS in providing a free-to-air higher accuracy augmentation to standard GPS and the new Galileo satellite service. In particular, the extension of EGNOS services eastwards over central Europe during 2012 will open up new possibilities to agriculture in the region.
Entries may take a variety of forms including success stories on the application of GNSS and precision agriculture, or related ideas and innovations in different countries and farm types, technical proposals for equipment or systems applied to different crops or farm types, and specific applications either for small farms or cooperative groups or wider area application of GNSS.
Entries must be submitted in electronic format and be presented in English. All entries must include a full description of the idea plus additional materials such as a short video, a presentation or relevant computer model.
The competition is open to all students and young people below the age of 32 studying or resident in 40 European countries from Albania to the United Kingdom. For full details of the competition see the dedicated website at www.farmingbysatellite.eu. Registration opens on 13 June and interested parties should register before 31 October to receive a full briefing pack and be prepared to submit their ideas by 31 December 2012.
UK consultancy Helios is managing the ‘Farming by Satellite’ prize and they can be contacted via email at: email@example.com.
EGNOS for precision farming:
EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is essentially Europe's ‘pre-Galileo' system and its first concrete venture into satellite navigation. EGNOS delivers services based on GPS and GLONASS signals and augments them to increase their accuracy. This enables metre to metre-precision and path to path accuracy of up to 13-15cm opening the way to precision agriculture.
This highly effective farming strategy allows farmers to better allocate inputs, such as seeds and fertilisers, to increase productivity while lowering costs and minimising environmental impact. Traditionally, the main obstacle to wide-scale application of precision agriculture has been the substantial investment required. Now, the EGNOS Open Service has fundamentally changed the equation by offering high precision at low cost.
The main advantages of satellite technologies in agriculture include high accuracy and repeatability of the same action year on year. These two fundamental advantages lead to valuable benefits such as reduced waste through over-application of fertilisers and herbicides, reduced seed consumption, fuel and time savings, lower fatigue, extended equipment life and optimisation of crop yields.
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