Global Farming - Local Responsibility

Guiding Theme 2019

Farming now resembles a global network – feeds and foods, technologies and farm inputs are all the subject of international trade. Raw materials are produced and processed independently of one another in different regions of the world. This global exchange forms the basis for the success of the farms, including their upstream and downstream sectors. Individual regions specialise and concentrate on producing specific products for which international demand exists.

Technology companies follow this trend and offer tailored systems and services for the respective locations, enabling them to use resources efficiently. These developments are increasingly also integrating those countries that used to be only capable to a limited extent of participating in international trade.

However not only the exchange of goods is reflected in this network. Such global trade indirectly redistributes vast quantities of water and nutrients that are needed to produce the basic products. Emissions from agriculture produce effects globally. Production areas are often used (too) one-sidedly, depending on what products they are particularly suitable for in international terms.

The organisation of agriculture around the world is similar to the operating cycle of a farm with different lines of business, including its material flows – “Global Farming” stands for these internationally interlinked agricultural cropping systems with their agricultural product and commodity flows. Raw materials, feedstuffs and foods for the global market are produced specifically on the land of individual farms. The individual farmers take decisions every day on how to cultivate their land and manage their crops – from tillage, sowing, fertilizing and crop protection through to harvesting and integrated logistics. Producers act within the partly tight leeway afforded by natural and statutory framework conditions coupled with economic constraints.

The farmers are responsible for using limited resources (soil, air, water, biodiversity, and of course human resources) as efficiently as possible. Ideally farming is integrated directly into society. Social acceptance of agricultural production arises at local level, and of course to achieve this the producers must protect natural resources, organise work processes in a socially efficient fashion and plan production processes sustainably, using appropriate methods. “Local Responsibility” is key to the viability of farms.

Alongside a large number of other influences, globally networked agricultural production is based on the production methods adopted by the local farm manager, whose work contributes to the global developments. This shows how Global Farming and Local Responsibility are inseparably connected.

The international suppliers of farm inputs, machinery, digital systems and technologies also assume influence and responsibility by optimising local production methods and promoting cropping systems that match local conditions. They have a great effect on farmers’ options for designing their production systems sustainably.

AGRITECHNICA offers stakeholders in agriculture and agribusiness – from global players to individual farmers – the platform for working together on responsible production systems.

Responsibility for a limited resource

Irrigation in practice

What do farmers in rural Brandenburg and producers in northern Namibia have in common? One answer might be "A lot of sand in their soil". Which is true. The answer "Not a lot of water" would also be correct. However, what is true for globally networked agriculture as a whole particularly applies to both of these cases: while the challenges may bear some similarity, they can only be overcome locally. (A lack of) water is a prime example of this.  [learn more]
 

Soil under pressure

Approaches for its protection

The definition leaves no room for doubt: "Central basis of life for plants and directly or indirectly for human beings and animals." But it was clear even before the entry in the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia: the soil is the basis for everything. And the reason why it must be protected can already be derived from this realisation. One of the threats, if not the most important one, is erosion, i.e. the loss of fertile soil through wind or water. [learn more]

A clever and mixed approach is needed

Sustainable crop protection as a solution

Human medicine shows the way. The times of "more helps more" are long gone, if they ever existed at all. It is no different with crop protection. Today, it is not unusual for many farmers to combine state-of-the-art active substances and traditional but optimised methods of weed and pest control - even on individual fields [learn more]

Help from above

Intelligently networking digital systems

"It almost certainly won't be less work initially", says Prof. Patrick Ole Noack putting paid to any wishful thinking: the scientist refers to digital crop production, including instruments such as satellites and drones along with sensor systems, as "indication systems". [learn more]

After harvesting

Safely storing yields

The statistical data reveal an extensive spread, but one aspect appears to be certain: depending on region and type of culture, significant crop yields are lost after harvesting, particularly in regions with supply problems. These losses determine whether firms operate profitably and in many cases even whether people go hungry. [learn more]

Well-dosed

Fertiliser management for the pros

Due to the fertiliser ordinance, the subject of "fertilisation" is more present than ever, and that far beyond the roundtables. Everyone is talking about it, but not everyone bases what they say on facts, and on a political level there are indications of further restrictions. [learn more]