The AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF) , a private foundation with the vision to prevent and relieve hunger through sustainable agricultural development, has announced a CHF 195,000 donation to Bern University of Applied Sciences (School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences). The donation will support the implementation of a three-year farm project that seeks to promote the application of non-tillage-based weed control methods on lightweight field robots in a cool and wet climate of Central Europe.
The project will focus on non-contact weed control methods in combination with small robots to help increase the sustainability of crop production, prevent soil compaction and minimise weed emergence. The project work will be completed within the framework of University students’ engagement to complete master’s and bachelor’s theses on the project’s focus and other related sustainability issues. Emerging knowledge findings and innovations from the project will be transferred to farmers and key stakeholders to enhance sustainable crop production and on-farm operation efficiency.
Supporting farmers to boost farm productivity becomes more important as changing climatic conditions have intensified the problems posed by weeds and continue to affect global food production. In addition, farm solutions like small and lightweight semi-autonomous field robots can potentially contribute to a significant increase in crop production efficiency while reducing soil pressure impact.
Together with the Bern University of Applied Sciences (School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences) and technical support from the AGCO Swiss Future Farm , the project will promote the use of precision-planted arable crops in rows as a substitute, making more areas available.
“Food production efficiency remains one of the world’s most demanding challenges for agriculture against the background of climate events and change. We hope that by contributing to programs such as this one with Bern University, we can help meet some of these challenges and advance education in this area for the wider benefit for farming communities in Europe,” commented Roger Batkin, board chair, AGCO Agriculture Foundation.