At the end of February 2019, the international agricultural show SIMA took place in Paris. For all those who were not able to attend the show terraHORSCH summarises the highlights.
On the 24th of February Didier Guillaume, the French Minister of Agriculture and Food visited the HORSCH stand. It was the first time that a minister officially visited the stand of a manufacturer at a show. Cornelia Horsch and her brother Robert Dorsemagen, director of HORSCH France, talked to him about the situation in the agricultural sector – from a manufacturer’s and from a farmer’s point of view. The work of the farmers depends on natural factors. But they imposed restrictions on themselves, for example to apply plant protection agents only if the conditions are optimum. This is not always easy. However, there are technical solutions to facilitate the task, e.g. the patented boom control system HORSCH BoomControl that they explained to the Minister in detail. Cornelia Horsch regretted that the innovations of agricultural engineering are not appreciated more in public. For they finally result from the worries of society.
80 Russian and 50 Belgium farmers met at the stand, too, to get information about the innovations for their respective market. The two events were organised by the Russian dealers managed by Viktor Lorenz, the head of sales of HORSCH Rus respectively by HORSCH Belgium.
Be Api is a French consulting firm that specialised in Precision Farming. They visited the HORSCH stand with about 100 French farmers and employees of co-operatives. Supported by the service provider Defisol the farmers work with a site-specific mapping of their farms to always adapt fertiliser application and seed rates accordingly.
Before he went into details, HORSCH employee Etienne de Saint-Laumer mentioned a problem that often is forgotten: „What is the use of adapting the fertiliser application rate if the basis is not ok – if no high-quality seed is used? If it is clean, homogeneous and has a good germination rate, the plants can emerge in a better and more homogeneous way, the population closes much faster. You have to reclaim the basics of the profession of a farmer before introducing complex solutions that often do not achieve enough yield!”
He then described in detail the practical experiences HORSCH gathered in the sector of Precision Farming: „The SingularSystem allows for reducing the number of grains per m² and still receiving an even coverage of the field. Due to the double hoppers for the Avatar, Sprinter, Express, Maestro and Pronto the seed can be adapted. The AutoSelect system of the HORSCH Leeb sprayers allows for an automatic regulation of the application rate. At the Maestro seed drills AutoForce controls the pressure on the seed elements. Whether on stony or on light soils – the be-all and end-all of a homogeneous emergence of the maize plants is a regular sowing depth on the whole field.“
Though the number of visitors of the SIMA was lower than in 2017, the exchange and the discussions on the HORSCH stand were on the well-known high level. With 15 exhibited machines, among them the new sprayer HORSCH Leeb AX, the Tiger MT with the new swivel chassis with RollPack packer, the Pronto NT with the new filling auger for the double hopper, HORSCH presented plenty of solutions for the requirements of every farmer.
Dealer meeting on the occasion of the 20th anniversary
During the SIMA HORSCH France organised the traditional meeting of all French and Belgian dealers, of the team of HORSCH France and the HORSCH family in Paris.
170 people celebrated the 20th anniversary of the French HORSCH branch. The success of the company mainly is based on the unfailing commitment of the dealers. The meeting was an occasion to thank the sales partners.
Robert Dorsemagen as well as Michael and Philipp Horsch held the opening speech. The two brothers told the audience which path HORSCH wants to strike in the years to come: „Our conviction that the health of the soil has to be the basis for our decisions as farmers and manufacturers already is 50 years old. At that time everyone called us crazy! In the next 50 years we will focus on the health of the people. This is the challenge we are ready to take.“
Questions of the internet users
At the show Michael Horsch answered the questions that were asked on facebook.
For example: „You again and again talk about hybrid farming. Can you describe the way between organic and conventional farming?“ Michael Horsch’s answer: „One thing is clear: organic farming is a niche. But we must not forget that this market is constantly growing. In the near future, about 10 to 20 % of the production might come from certified organic farms. We know that conventional farming has reached its limits. The herbicide resistance of grass weeds, the appearance of illnesses cannot be solved with chemistry. The residues of plant protection agents in our food or the rotations that are too tight in some regions are further examples. Let’s dare to make an analysis of the next ten years: If organic farming has a market share of 20 %, there will be 80 % for the rest of the production – which has to be available in a sufficient quantity and at an affordable price. We other farmers will have to reduce the applications, i.e. less active material and lower spraying quantities and thus a more and more precise application technology. We also have to understand the direction organic farming will take, like for example hoeing crops which will be able to partly replace herbicides. Hybrid farming is the combination of the best solutions from conventional and organic farming.“
Another question was: „In your opinion, is France a role model in the matter of organic farming? Is HORSCH going to offer machines for green manuring?“ Michael Horsch explained: „At the moment, the French are the most innovative: for those who use no-till farming, those who saw catch crops in my opinion already carry out hybrid farming. This phenomenon is noticeable all over Europe, but is especially obvious in France. This is exactly why France is so important for HORSCH. With regard to organic fertilisers: on our farms in the Czech Republic we focus on how we can upgrade them. Our research is aimed at making the nutrients in the fertilisers quickly available for the plant and at reducing eluviation to a minimum. It can be about sawdust, the residues of green land or also about straw. With low fertiliser quantities (8 t/ha) that are incorporated intensely you can achieve a very efficient system. In hybrid farming compost is mixed with a mineral fertiliser. The objective is to make nitrogen available to the plant that will not be washed out. Liquid manure that is so important on our farms is a problem: A lot of water is transported and the weight of our machines is too high for our fields. We would have to transform this liquid manure but we are still lacking knowledge.“
During an interview at the show Philipp Horsch, managing director of the HORSCH Maschinen GmbH, announced a new line of machines.
Can you tell us more about the new HORSCH products?
Philipp Horsch: When our family settled down in farming 50 years ago, the health of the soil already was one of our main concerns. For years we have been working on mechanical weed control, especially at AgroVation, one of our farms in the Czech Republic. The new product line of hoeing harrows and hoeing machines will be adapted to the requirements of hybrid farming. The objective is to provide simple tools, without electronics, merely mechanical and according to our motto: faster, simpler, safer. Come and visit us at the Agritechnica show and take a look at the new machines.
How do you assess the development of biogas in France?
Philipp Horsch: Though biogas in France is still at the beginning, it surely will grow fast. To react to this a possibility to apply fertiliser – or to sow catch crop energy plants - has to be integrated in the tillage tools. Our seed drills already meet these criteria. For the French market we want to offer machines that are able to sow catch crop maize directly after GPS rye. Our single grain seed drill Maestro is already able to do this. It is equipped with a hydraulic pressure regulation system that can be adapted from the cabin. The seed element of the Maestro disposes of axles and solid bearings. The trash wheels can be mounted exactly in front of the seed elements to sow catch crop maize after rye.
Figures and facts
- 17 visitor groups attended the HORSCH lectures on modulation, precision plant protection and no-till farming.
- More than 13,000 leaflets were distributed.
- About 4,000 drinks were served during the show by a three-man team.
- 15 journalists took part in the press conference.
- Compared to the previous SIMA 25 % more promotional articles were sold.
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