Prizes up to €10,000 for ‘sat nav’ ideas

Farmers have been early adopters of satellite technologies, for mapping fields and identifying their characteristics.

According to CLAAS Agrosystems, such technologies are necessary for successful agriculture, with 90% of high-end CLAAS combine harvesters equipped with satellite-enabled receivers.

European farmers can save up to 7% on operating costs with such technologies, thanks to time reduction and reduction of fuel, oil and machine expenses.

Satellite-navigation technologies are being used to make sure fleets of tractors and harvesters, trucks, other transport vehicles, and even people, work together in a co-ordinated and efficient way.

Now, students and the young are being invited to form ideas for use of satellite technologies in agriculture, to improve production, efficiency, profitability and to reduce environmental impact.

Three prizes of €10,000, €5000, and €1,000, plus an expenses-paid trip to Paris to collect the award, are on offer in the ‘farming by satellite prize’ competition, an initiative of GSA, the EU agency responsible for European satellite activities, and sponsored by the Claas and Bayer CropScience agribusiness.

Entries can be about any type of agriculture in any part of Europe. You don’t need to be a satellite specialist to take part.

But your idea must be about using satellite services to provide benefits in agriculture, food production or land use.

The www.farmingbysatellite.eu website shows how to register your details by Oct 31, to receive an information pack. Entries must be submitted by Dec 31, 2012. The winner will be announced in Feb 2013.

The competition is open to anyone aged under 32 in the EU, plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Israel, Lichtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, and Turkey.

The aim of the competition is to promote the use of the global-navigation satellite system in agriculture.

Gian-Gherardo Calini, Head of market development at the GSA, said: “We anticipate the participation of a combination of young, working farmers and growers, as well as students of farming, horticulture and life sciences. It costs nothing to enter, and we are particularly keen to see entries that increase the focus on farm types and places where the use of satellite navigation has not yet taken off.”

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