SIP Leader: Caroline Desbourdes (ARVALIS)
Sector: Arable crops (maize and wheat)
Countries Involved: France
ARVALIS : SIP leader, farmers
Carbon Bee : Agricultural Digital Solutions (ADS)
Farmers involved: 2 medium-sized farms (100ha) from
the “Digifermes” network of farms, located in the
Meuse (East France) and Ile de France (Central France).
The necessity for sustainability
The European Green Deal has set ambitious targets to reduce the use and risks associated with chemical pesticides, including herbicides, by 50% by 2030, in line with the EU’s ‘Farm to Fork’ and ‘Biodiversity’ strategies. These objectives can only be achieved by using innovative agronomic levers in addition to chemical ones. Moreover, herbicides remain a technical solution that enables farms to maintain their potential and the quality of their production. Small and medium-sized farms are particularly hard hit because of the fragmentation of their plots and their limited financial resources.
How will SIP8 address the challenge?
The Agricultural Digital Solutions (ADSs) used in SIP8 will focus on affordable upgrades to existing sprayers. These sprayers will provide automatic detection and targeted spraying of weeds via advanced technologies. The plan is for these technologies to produce a recommendation map which directly controls the opening of nozzles. The main advantage of such a solution is that it can be installed on existing and common farm machinery. SIP 8 will furthermore use AI, RGB and hyperspectral sensors, embedded computing and real-time solutions.
By spraying only where necessary, this technology will make it possible to reduce the use of herbicides without taking any risks in terms of plot contamination, while maintaining sufficient yields and a decent income for farmers.
The business model of SIP 8 focuses on a cost-effective alternative to purchasing costly new sprayers, primarily targeting contractors, CUMA, and AgriCooperatives. These entities will subsequently offer a localised weeding service with assured quality. Renting options will also be considered. Governance model will include addressing legal barriers posed by established machinery manufacturers, determining data ownership and control, and collaborating in the co-creation of IP technology.
The measurable results expected from SIP8 are 30% reduction in the herbicide treatment frequency index ( the benchmark for pesticide use for ECOPHYTO), 30% reduction in input costs and net margin to remain at least stable (≥0%)