Development and practical application of a precision farming system for the protection of protected areas (e.g. archaeological monuments) on arable land

The aim of the project is to provide farmers who practise arable and crop farming with practicable, economically largely neutral methods and techniques that can be easily integrated into their operations to safeguard these protected areas. One focus is to develop an automated system for limiting the depth of tillage and removing particularly sensitive areas in the area of soil cultivation and to test this in practice over several years and introduce it on farms.

(Illustration from the travelling exhibition “Saxony’s History under the Field – Farmers Protect Monuments” – Saxony State Office for Archaeology and Saxony State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology)

In addition to soil cultivation, this method can also be used for sowing, fertilisation and plant protection. This involves limiting the amount of inputs applied automatically, down to zero, on the corresponding sub-areas and areas (restricted areas or restrictions due to distance regulations and application regulations in crop protection and fertilisation or area-related specifications from the area of environmental and climate protection).

Lark window at the Köllitsch educational and experimental farm (Photo: Matthias Löwig)

The basis for data storage will be a “personal cloud” on a computer on the farm. This automatically retrieves the relevant current geometry data, e.g. from the respective state archaeological office, and processes it internally. This means that there is a “location” in the agricultural enterprise where the restricted areas are stored, retrieved and synchronised, but also updated. This makes it possible for all users working above, on and in the ground to implement the restrictions automatically, with a clear focus on the area and in a comprehensible manner. This will be realised by automatically making the current geometries of the area-based protected goods/vine strips/restricted areas etc. available for use on each tractor or device terminal. Of course, it will also be possible to include linear and point structures (lanes, driving patterns, field boundaries, field entrances, landscape elements, masts, etc.).

The project will run for three years (2016 – 2018) and is funded by the Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology. The project is a project according to the directive of the Saxon State Ministry of the Environment and Agriculture for the promotion of agriculture, European Innovation Partnerships (EiP AGRI) and knowledge transfer including demonstration projects within the framework of the development programme for rural areas in the Free State of Saxony (Funding Directive Agriculture, Innovation, Knowledge Transfer Directive LiW/2014). Part: European Innovation Partnership “Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability” (EIP AGRI) of 15 December 2014.