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Ideas for the future of farming

With the ”Soil Forge“ (Bodenschmiede) project HORSCH together with Farm & Food 4.0 and the university Weihenstephan-Triesdorf is looking for ideas that might help to create the agricultural sector of tomorrow.

The climate change more and more influences agricultural yields. Less and less plant protection agents are available for the farmers. Moreover, yields will stagnate even more because of rotation problems. The discussion about farming includes too many ”either – or“s. A new kind of farming does not only have to be ecological. In the future, there has to be a new kind of thinking in many sectors: We need new production systems, new auxiliaries, new crops and rotations, new marketing paths as well as new revenue opportunities and business models. With the “Soil Forge” campaign HORSCH wants to change farming and combine the best of ecological and conventional farming.

The original plan was to hold the final event at the HORSCH headquarters in Schwandorf. However, because of the Corona restrictions there was an online event with 300 participants with a live voting of the winner. The members of the jury were: Stefanie Bröring (professor for technology and innovation management in agribusiness, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelm university Bonn), Julia Harnal (head of the globale unit sustainability and governmental relations, BASF SE), Benedikt Bösel (founder and managing director Gut & Bösel), Rolf Sommer (head of agriculture & land use change, WWF Germany) and Michael Horsch.

The winning project

Relay Intercropping is a cultivation method where a spring crop is sown into an existing winter crop as a kind of “underseed”. The objective is to make use of the economic and ecological potential of the mixed cultivation of cereals and soya or other crop partners. 48 % of all participants in the ”Soil Forge“ web event voted for the concept of the students from the UAS Upper Austria, campus Wels.




Beside the winner six other projects chosen from more than 60 applications made it into the final.

  • Farmalyzer is an IoT platform for farmers that edits data of satellites, machines and soil sensors into directly useable information. It thus allows for an exactly matched handling of agricultural production units.
  • FarmInsect provides farmers with a solution to use regional organic residues for the production of insect larvae. They are fed as a protein feedstuff to productive livestock instead of imported soya flour or fish meal.
  • HAIP allows for detecting symptoms of plant stress before they are visible to the human eye by flying over the field with a drone.
  • The concept of the Fieldeye GmbH integrates the costs of agricultural production in the value-added chain. The objective is to put the price of the produced raw material in a relation that is fixed by a contract to the price of the final product – this is currently done with lavender oil.
  • The mowing separator technology is marked by the separation of main and side products of the harvest already before threshing.
  • The high-pressure pesticide refers to a selective weed management in row crops via a high-pressure jet directly in the row where it is not possible to work with a hoe.

Farm & Food 4.0 in Berlin is an international congress for innovation and digitalisation in the agricultural and food sector. Farmers, startups, science, agricultural and food industries deal with relevant future topics.
Since 2016, Farm & Food has become established as a trendsetting event and as the sole innovation platform where everyone can participate in creating the future of food production together with experts and innovators. At Farm & Food 4.0 everyone meets to work on sustainable solutions for tomorrow. This is what makes this unique network so powerful. It thinks ahead and out of the box and identifies solutions that are encouraging and motivating – for an ecologically and economically sustainable growth.