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February 2nd, 2017 << back >>


Digital Farming – on track for more sustainability

Josef Bremer and Andreas Dörr have much in common. They are both young farmers, both work on the family farm as junior partners, and both see Digital Farming as the future. Bayer is supporting them on this journey.

Digital Farming is currently a hot topic in agriculture. What is there about it that fascinates you two most?

Josef Bremer: I must admit that I am very much a technophile. I really like trying out new ideas. When I first saw a parallel driving system on a tractor, I thought that I didn’t need it because I can drive straight by myself. But today I appreciate how perfectly the tractor runs thanks to GPS. For us farmers, Digital Farming simply opens up entirely new opportunities.

How do you keep abreast of digital trends in farming?

Andreas Dörr: In my line of business, for example, I am well networked with other companies and farmers. But I also keep an eye on the relevant Internet portals for topics such as precision farming. And then there is the personal consultation aspect – something that shouldn’t be underestimated – because my Bayer regional consultant provides me with a lot of support in this area. He is extremely well informed about the products and systems. That is a great help.
Josef Bremer: My consultant also passes on a great deal of knowledge to me, but I also read a number of specialized publications, visit events, and share news and ideas with other farmers.


Why did you decide to develop and test new digital systems with Bayer?

Andreas Dörr: I aim to always be a step ahead of the rest. There is no shortage of digital solutions to help me. That is why a reliable local partner like Bayer is important for me.
Josef Bremer: Our fields are up to 20 kilometers apart. Thanks to digital geodata, I no longer need to inspect the fields on-site and can plan measures on the computer screen site-specifically.

Can you explain that in greater detail?

Josef Bremer: Well, for example, I can see in advance whether or not specific subareas need treatment. That enables me to save on crop protection products, which is good for the environment and reduces my operating costs. Instruments that warn me of an infection or pest infestation are very important for me. Is a rust infection close by, which might affect my cereal crops? How much time do I have before I need to apply a crop protection product? Is the humidity high, and are my potatoes therefore at a higher risk of becoming infected?

Does Digital Farming enable you to achieve more sustainable agriculture?

Josef Bremer: It definitely does. I am always telling my neighbors that new technologies enable us to use crop protection products more efficiently, which is also good for our image.
Andreas Dörr: That clearly is a benefit, but it also enables me to do something entirely different. I suddenly have a lot more time for my family.

Which digital solutions do you currently use on your farm in addition to Bayer’s Digital Farming System?

Andreas Dörr: We now do most of our correspondence digitally. We have a central server for lease-hold and farmland management, which we can access at any time and from any location. All of our farmland is covered by GIS systems. We have also made great progress in controlled traffic farming, or lane management in the fields and in subarea-specific management. In addition, we use the Weather Pro tool and have installed a weather station on the farm. We also use GPS, steering systems and apps for fleet management. I can sit in the sauna and can tell which direction the wind is coming from or where the combine harvester is right now. That makes my day-to-day work much easier.

You both still run your farmers jointly with your fathers. What do they think about Agriculture 2.0?

Andreas Dörr: Young farmers clearly find digitization easier because we have grown up with smartphones and other devices. But my father is very happy to go with the flow. We have agreed that we will trial digital solutions on our farm and will then be very happy to continue to use them.
Josef Bremer: My father takes a very relaxed view of it all. He has his areas of work and I have mine. We sit together every evening and make decisions together, including decisions on the use of new digital solutions. And once a decision has been made, he leaves me to it; he simply trusts me and the technology.

Bremer Agricultural Contractors
The Bremers’ farm is located in Grevenbroich, near Neuss, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, in the middle of the Cologne-Aachen bay. The family runs a 200-hectare arable farm growing cereals, barley, wheat, triticale, rapeseed, field beans, sugar beet, and potatoes. They also have an agricultural contracting business.

Doerr-Agrar
The Dörr family runs a family farm in the Rhön region of Germany where Hesse, Thuringia, and Bavaria meet. It is a 1,200-hectare farm. Cereals and rapeseed are grown on around 850 hectares and fodder on the remainder. The family also runs a biogas plant.