Soil health is very important for food production and preservation of nature in general. Traditional techniques of soil sampling, analyzing and preparation of respective fertilization plans as well as the traditional agricultural practices in the field, are resulting in irrational use of phyto products and fertilizers. As a consequence, this leads to the degradation of soil health. Soil quality varies greatly even on smaller fields and field fractions and it changes over a relatively small time. In order to increase the efficiency of soil treatment and thus increase soil health, we need to think about ways on how to introduce new technologies for optimized fertilization and innovative approaches, such as introducing a soil passport cantered system, rewarding farmers for maintaining or improving soil health.
The solution to the problem will be addressed with a mixture of technological, social, entrepreneurial and insitutional innovations!
Firstly, it focuses on defining a soil-passport approach for Slovenian farmers and introducing precision farming to support the optimal preparation and applications of fertilization plans and the collection of evidence for the soil-passport certificate. In general, the solution for optimal preparation of fertilization plans, combines different types of technologies and data sources: (a) satellite imagery and drones will be used for constant monitoring of crops for detecting anomalies in crops, (b) collected data will be used for fertilization plans during late phenological phases, (c) target soil sampling – according to identified areas with different soil potentials from satellite and drone imagery we will carry out samplings in these common areas, (d) fertilization plans will be prepared in e-service platform and prepared for farmers in such a format, that they can be imported into farming machinery for precision fertilization.
Moreover, all the data will be provided as evidence for the soil certificate that will be designed as part of the soil-passport methodology that will be developed and tested. At last, overall soil passport approach will be evaluated and introduced to relevant stakeholders as possible upgrade of existing practices (e.g. state subsidies and land lease), motivating farmers to systematically improve soil health.
Technological: Combination of modern robotic platforms (drones and other robots in the future), modern in-situ sensors, IT supporting systems and smart farming machinery, wrapped up advanced eservice provided to farmers from advisory service.
Social: Existing domain experts will be trained to use state-of-the-art solution which will result in maintaining existing jobs, as well as producing new jobs with higher added value. This is all feasible, because saving on farmers’ side are greater than costs.
Organizational/Entrepreneurial: Change of business model at the public advisory service provider, being able to use digital technologies and help farmers in their digital transformation and keeping soil healthy.
Institutional: Change in the way of how soil as a public good is treated and systematically improved. Additionally, in the way how contracts and financial incentives are distributed to farmers, by introducing a soil passport system which will motivate (not only financially) farmers to increase soil health systematically.
Economic: Soil-passport system and escorting precision farming techs provide economic benefits to stakeholders, reshape the public subsidy system, introduce a soil health criterion and redefine the value chain. Upgrade of the Farm Manager turn-key solution with precision farming solution. Reduction of costs and increased soil treatment efficiency.
Social: Lowering of farmers’ and farming companies’ production costs, soil quality price tag when leasing/selling their land. Small farms will be able to digitally transform faster, increasing appeal and motivation to stay and work on land.
Environmental: Usage of fertilizers and pesticides only in areas where they are needed, with soil passport system, farmers’ motivation to increase soil health with many other added techniques. Increase soil health, decrease environmental impact and optimize use of farming machinery.