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A Farmer's Journey of Agriculture 4.0

#Agriculture4.0 #SmartFarming #PrecisionFarming

A broad digitization of agricultural enterprises and their value chains holds great potential for economic efficiency, environmental protection, and transparency. But what has prevented widespread implementation so far? Work together with the RWZ on the question: How can we help agricultural enterprises and make it possible for them to move into digital agriculture?

  • ✅ Challenge completed
  • 🏁 Winner
    Congrats to Agracheck und SmartSoil!
  • 🏆  Rewards
    15,000 € prize pool in the overall DE 4.0 project + invitation to the Federal Chancellery + promotion of further implementation + chance for further cooperation with RWZ
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Use Case is part of the DEUTSCHLAND 4.0 Challenge

Status Quo

The megatrend of digitization is having an impact on all areas of daily life - including the way food is produced and consumed. In addition, trends such as sustainability, urbanization, and individualization also play an important role on every single farm.

Agriculture faces many challenges: Climate change and increasing weather extremes, dependencies on the world market, increasing bureaucratic efforts, a highly regulated working environment, shortage of skilled workers, agricultural structural change, tighter economic constraints and last but not least the acceptance and willingness to pay prices by each individual consumer when buying our food.

However, there are just as many opportunities in agriculture: In particular, advances in automation and networking in theory today enable a broad application for almost all agricultural processes and operations - the neologisms smart or digital farming, precision agriculture and others are increasingly making their way into the technical jargon.

In agriculture, digitization is not an end in itself, but rather the key factor that can ensure optimal processes for greater efficiency, environmental protection and transparency throughout the entire value-added system.

Autonomous, GPS-controlled tractors drive with (almost) no driver intervention: in the field, cows are milked fully automatically, intelligent software and appropriate sensor technology supports the precise application of fertilizer when and where the plant needs it for growth.

There are many challenges in connection with the technological possibilities (e.g. high investment costs, intensity of consulting for products and services, compatibility of the machines with each other as well as integration of existing machines, as the farmer does not change his complete fleet of vehicles at once).

But the biggest challenge is the decision-maker and user himself.


For the individual farm, Agriculture 4.0 is not a simple undertaking. The complexity and diversity of decisions, processes and activities on the farm is enormous.

Influencing factors are for example: Increase in productivity, quality assurance, environmental impact, resource efficiency & protection, nature conservation and biodiversity, timely use of resources, weather conditions & forecasts, legal framework, food safety, reduction of labor costs.

Not all farmers are absolutely technically versed, in many cases only a few farmers are leading the way and all others have already lost the courage and leisure to deal with the complex topic, so that many are straying from the path of digitalization.

So the question is: How do we manage to take agricultural businesses by the hand and enable them to move into digital farming? How do we enable broad-based digitization?
What steps should farms take, and in what order should they take them, to digitize their own farms?

The questions of the individual farmer are manifold:

  • Where do I start or how do I continue with the digitalization of my business? Which step comes when?
  • Where do I want to go? When should I make which decisions and what prospects does digitization offer me? And where does the journey lead?
  • Where do I have the greatest positive effects and what do I have to do to achieve them?
  • How much does digitization cost me (possibly per module)?
  • How much can I save through the individual modules and overall?
  • What effect do my decisions have on the environment, society, and the economy? On a small and large scale.
  • How can I use my digital activities in a way that is effective for the public?

A very large target group for the scaling of digital solutions also lacks the younger successor generation, the company has been abandoned and for the coming years it must continue as before. The hurdle of investment costs and time that would have to be invested in decision-making is too high - the farmer has strayed from the path of digitalization and is resigned.

This is exactly where your creative ideas and approaches are needed!

Still questions or looking for inspiration?

You are looking for inspiration and want to learn methods to develop an innovative idea for this or any other use case?

Then take part in one of our freely accessible and digital workshops, which we offer throughout this project, and let experienced innovation coaches e.g. from Lufthansa Group show you approaches like Design Thinking and similar methodologies!

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