Fill in your profile on the platform
Help us to support you by filling in your profile. The questions we ask you allow us to better filter the digital tools on the platform and to offer you comparisons of tools that are more relevant to you
Our 10 tips for finding your tool
Digital tools are not just for the rich; you have to get this idea out of your head! Some tools are of course expensive, or even unaffordable for small farms (and even large ones), but starting small, with simple and/or free digital tools allows you to realise what you really need.
Many decision support tools (DSTs) and mobile applications are free of charge; take advantage of them. High resolution satellite images are available for free on some platforms. Learn how to use them to highlight differences between your plots (and within these plots). Get historical images of your plots to study how your plots have been reshaped. And many more... Start simple and add digital bricks only as needed for your daily work.
Have you seen the abundance of digital tools on the market? How can you not get lost in it... It's a bit all over the place. Many players are positioned in the same market segment. Some tools, on the other hand, by the way they acquire data or by the way they operate, are quite different, but they make it possible to respond to the same agricultural challenge.
Don't spread yourself too thin. Identify your most worrying problems and constraints and focus on the digital tools that can alleviate them. Focus on specific tools, not too general, to be sure that they best address your issues. Follow the user path on the platform and use the filters to navigate the growing ecosystem of digital tools applied to agriculture.
Digital is still a tool, it cannot be repeated often enough. It's a layer of varnish - a beautiful varnish indeed - but you can't build your strategy on a tool. The tool comes later, once the agronomic orientation of the farm is clear and well identified. It is the agronomic strategy that the digital tool will enhance.
To say that such and such a digital tool is an agroecology or conservation agriculture tool is meaningless. It all depends on how the digital tools are used. A lot of tools are adapted to very different cropping patterns, and that's what makes them interesting. But again, they come at a later stage, once the philosophy and the way of producing on the farm have been decided.
The digital tools are there to support you throughout your farming itinerary. You must master them and understand how they work. A decision support tool? An agronomic model? You need to understand what's behind it. Of course, you don't need to know the innermost details because you could get into extremely complex and overly specific processes. But you have the right to know the type of data that is used by the tool or the reasoning that allows the tool to give you a decision.
No more black boxes, no more hidden defects! You can't let it go. "What does the tool allow? To receive advice? To act on my plots?"; "What exactly does the tool measure? Ask yourself questions, and especially ask them of your interlocutors. By mastering the digital tools you use, you will also be more autonomous and you will be able to make a final decision in full awareness. Don't hesitate to dig into the thematic files and blog articles to gain perspective on the technologies on the market.
The main purpose of this platform is to show you the existing digital tools and, if possible, to present you concrete examples of farmers using these tools. Some of the tools may seem incredible, some surprising, some not adapted to your situation, some maybe even completely useless.
Stay open and curious. Just because a tool seems to be suitable only for large farms or for a particular type of crop, does not mean that you will not be able to benefit significantly from it on your farm. Conversely, just because a tool fits perfectly with your neighbours' objectives and constraints does not mean that it will do so for you. Take inspiration from others, keep your ears open, and form your own opinion. Always put yourself in your own context.
Do the following terms ring a bell or have you never heard of them? "Open-source", "Standardisation", "Interoperability", "Portability", "Security", "Consent", "GDPR"... If you are unfamiliar with these words, it is time you became aware of them and acculturated yourself to the subject of data.
You cannot remain captive to a proprietary platform or software. You cannot accept that you cannot easily retrieve the data you may have filled in on a tool. You cannot accept that no benefit will be derived from the data you share. Simply put, you need to understand what is being done with your data. Data is the black gold of the 21st century. You need to understand the ins and outs of it. It is not too late!
Money is the lifeblood of the business, there's no denying it. The cost of digital tools will remain at the top of the list of elements influencing your purchase. However, keep in mind that the return on investment of a digital tool will always be complicated to measure. Agronomy is an extremely complex discipline, with interactions in all directions and spatial and temporal dynamics of your production factors. Soil, Climate, Pests, Diseases, Rotations, Cropping Practices... - there are so many bricks and mortar that are intertwined that it is difficult to disentangle the true from the false.
So don't just think about return on investment. Think also about the mental burden that the digital tool could save you, the comfort and time it could bring you, the interest that the tool could arouse for more responsible practices. And don't forget the intellectual stimulation, some tools will make you ask new questions and make you think.
The sirens are never far away... +10% yield increase, 30€ savings per hectare, and so on. You've probably already heard these figures from some salesmen, or you may have seen them on tool presentation brochures. As we said in the previous section, measuring the return on investment of a digital tool is not easy. Digital tools, and more generally Precision Agriculture, are not going to de-cap yields and are not going to revolutionise agriculture. They remain tools, supports and methods - sometimes very powerful ones, of course - but you have to keep a critical mind.
"What is the full price of the proposed service (depreciation of material costs, cost of the tool, cost of the service associated with the service [sampling, advice, etc.])? How can you assure me that these figures will apply to my farm? Use these questions to respond to the figures presented to you. Use these questions to respond to the figures presented to you. Base your responses on objective facts.
It may sound silly to say, but some suppliers offer to test digital tools before buying them (for paying tools, of course). Take advantage of this to see if the tool is suitable for your soil and climate context and your production objectives and constraints. Take advantage of the tests and customer feedback needed by certain suppliers to judge the interest of such and such a tool for your farm. This will also allow you to co-construct the tool with the supplier and even direct the improvements of the tool to your end.
To say nothing is to endorse. The platform allows you to judge and rate the tools. Take advantage of this opportunity to give constructive feedback to the community (a completely free review is not really constructive ....). Have you been able to compare digital tools thanks to other people's opinions, and on various profiles? Then share your feelings and experiences with the community.
This will allow us to see how well the digital tools match the needs of the users and, in general, to judge the interest of the digital tools for the agricultural sector. Does a digital tool not work? Are the results and indicators provided wrong? Let the community know and let suppliers improve their tool.
Resources on the platform
To help you navigate this burgeoning ecosystem of digital tools in agriculture, we offer a number of resources on the platform:
Comprehensive thematic articles to understand complex technologies and start to gain perspective
Maps and infographics for a broader view of the digital ecosystem in agriculture
EXAMPLES OF FARMERS
Compare yourself to the farmer profiles we have identified
Go further in understanding the challenges of digital tools in agriculture