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AVR exploits machine data to meet changing consumer demand


The growing population, the need for more traceability and the shortage of agricultural land have brought agriculture to a turning point. The solution? Boost the yield per square metre through smart farming. Machine builder AVR plays a pioneering role in this regard. That is why on 9 July 2018 they organised an info session for 200 growers and processing firms on the Internet of Things with guest speakers Sven Van De Voorde (Delhaize) and Jürgen Decloedt (VITO).




What the consumer is asking and how to deal with it

In order to identify the technologies that will enable the grower to satisfy this demand he first needs to know who the consumer is and what he wants.

Market surveys conducted by supermarket chain Delhaize indicate that the consumer profile is undergoing radical changes and a much more critical consumer is emerging. The categories are shifting from age-related groups that make dietary choices based on family circumstances to non-age related groups that make their selection on the basis of behaviour and quality demands.


Use data to improve agricultural practices

Since every machine is now equipped as standard with a sensor system and the cost of IoT technology is falling, machine manufacturer AVR feels data collection offers a host of opportunities. So what do they have in mind? They want to use connected sensors to create a detailed overview of environmental conditions, crop yields and soil management.


“Better agricultural practices are crucial if we are going to meet the nutritional needs of our exponentially growing world population. To make this happen, interested parties must make intelligent decisions based on data analysis.”

 “Farmers can use these data to upgrade the monitoring of their crop yields while crop processing companies are given a deeper insight into the quality and characteristics of the crops they take in. These accurate real time insights must help us increase efficiency, cut down waste and improve processes”, AVR’s IoT manager Koen Uyttenhove explains.


In the past, most of AVR’s efforts targeted the mechanical aspects of agriculture. The company primarily focused on larger and wider machines in a bid to increase capacity. Due to soil pressure and the limitations of road traffic there’s little margin left in this regard. “Our objective today is to develop more intelligent machines with an array of additional sensors and to use the collected data to create more value and increase transparency for all interested parties throughout the value chain. Thus we will offer added value on top of our core business of building high-quality machines.

Delaware has developed an MS Azure-based IoT platform that integrates the technology developed by hardware expert EuroTech. The platform collects, analyses and visualises the data from sensors on tractors and other agricultural machinery. 


Open platform from the end of 2018

A test version is being put through its paces as we speak. Later in the year AVR wants to open up the platform to end users in order to collect feedback from the market. This data can then be used to steer the development of new functionalities.

Koen has every confidence in the outcome. “We also want to explore other technologies such as the use of predictive analysis and image analysis to predict harvest size and quality.”

Nevertheless AVR’s chief focus remains the building of high-quality machines. “These research projects are very important to us and offering highly specific software solutions is interesting, but more than anything else we are still potato enthusiasts with an extensive expertise in electromechanics”, Koen concludes.


VITO potato monitoring platform

In 2017 VITO launched WatchITgrow, an open monitoring platform that aims to boost the usable yield of, amongst others, the potato acreage in Belgium in a sustainable way. Based on satellite imagery and meteorological, soil and IoT data, the platform offers insights into the evolution and the possible yields. In the near future it should be possible to dispense personalised advice to growers and more data sources will be integrated into the application.  AVR is also looking into using this data in the future.


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Press: Tine Coopman | 0032 51 24 55 66