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Agritechnica 2019: Changes in sustainability and labor supply in agriculture

DuckerFrontier, January 25, 2020

DuckerFrontier’s Europe, Middle East & Africa Heavy Equipment and Agriculture experts, Marcela Lukaj, Business Development Associate, and Audrey Courant, Managing Director attended the Agritechnica Trade Show in November 2019 – an unmissable event attended by major market players to showcase new products and innovation as well as interact with customers traveling from across Europe.

Agritechnica is also an occasion for experts in the sector to discuss developing trends on the agriculture-specific side like labor shortage and regulatory changes as drivers of technological development. Read Part 1 of this series on the macro-economic impact of Brexit on agriculture.

Sustainability and environmental concerns

Regulatory changes and green movements are putting more pressure on companies and farmers towards sustainability, supporting the implementation of electrification, precision farming, and restriction of chemicals for crop protection and fertilization. Technological development is fully embracing this trend with massive improvement of feeding through precision farming solutions and digital agronomy, reducing the use of products and ameliorating the final results on the yield. Some examples are spray-drone technology, which promises to cut up to 80% of the chemical used, digital tools for data collection, soil health monitoring and fleet management. These technologies will dramatically reduce the consumption of chemicals, create a holistic data collection system, a strong management over the fleet and provide the documentation necessary for insurance purposes.

Labor shortage

As the sector is experiencing a shortage of skilled labor, technology helps the farmers with autonomous solutions to alleviate the shortage of labor. Major manufacturers have new models of driverless tractors and semi-automatic innovations that provide solutions for a sector that does not appeal to the younger generations. However, replacing the human factor is not realistic in the short term, so in the meantime the industry does what it can to attract more talent:

  • Through enhancement of security and comfort, implementing technology that reduces the number of incidents and increases the well-being of the workers
  • Increasing simplicity of the machines, with data collection instruments to comply with regulations in the use of chemicals and fertilizer as well as maintain solid documentation of their resources

Actions

Companies are taking a variety of actions in response to Brexit uncertainty, from relocation to Central Europe for fear of the impact on production to a wait-and-see approach. However, our experts suggest scenario planning and monitoring political developments in the UK. Multinationals are rushing to get electrification, digitalization, and automation efforts quickly through investment in R&D, partnerships with start-ups and acquisition. However, the question remains how the regulators in Europe will react to some of these innovations. Regulators will continue to push towards electrification of heavy machinery, but it’s uncertain how they will treat new technology like drones-sprayers, which are not yet permitted to be used in agriculture.

DuckerFrontier’s Heavy Equipment team is at the forefront of key trends impacting the industry. Our goal is to work with clients to deliver tailored growth solutions to support your critical business decisions and growth strategies. How can we help you deliver better outcomes for your business? Contact us here to connect with a team member to get started.

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