Agromek & NJF joint seminar: Future arable farming and agricultural engineering

Time: 24-25 November, 2014
Place: Herning, Denmark

This seminar was arranged in advance of the Agromek Fair at the MCH conference centre in Herning on 24-25 November (the Agromek Fair was on 25-28 November). The main objectives with this joint seminar were to attract more participants to the seminar and to improve networking and cooperation with the agricultural engineering industry and highlight future innovation.

The seminar consisted of plenary and parallel (three) sessions and included more than 50 presentations and four posters. The participants (130) were from: Denmark (55), Norway (14), Sweden (13), Finland (11), Lithuania (3), Iceland (2), Latvia (1) and, outside the NJF countries, Brazil (3), Belgium (2), Germany (2), Ireland (1), UK (1) and Canada (1). There were also 14 Agromek journalists and a minor group of seven from Russia. Roughly, the participants were 1/3 from companies, 1/3 from advisory service and 1/3 from universities & research stations. About 20% were students (Master’s and PhD), and we recruited around 20 new NJF members during the seminar.

Simon Blackmore from Harper Adams University (precision farming and robotics) and Jens Fehrmann from Dresden TU (H2020 and AET & Manufuture) were keynote speakers in the plenary sessions. The final parallel topics were within safety, soil compaction, precision farming, robotics, climate emission, imaging & sensors, plant protection, indoor mechanisation, management and innovation.

On the half last-day, all the participants had the possibility to visit the Agromek Fair. The participants were offered the chance to follow SIG (special interest groups) which were planned and announced in advance, in order to get better insights into selected topics and companies & news. A total of 38 delegates participated, in three groups; Innovation group (10), Plant protection (8), and Precision farming & sensors & robotics (20). The Innovation group was led by a member of the nomination committee of Agromek, who had a good insight in the news at the Fair.

The feedback from the participants who were included in the SIG groups was very good. In addition, they had the opportunity to go on their own before the SIG groups were arranged. Tuesday 25 November was a good day for this because there were fewer people at the fair. Several participants also visited the Agromek Fair later during the week.

For NJF Technology, this arrangement gave better attractiveness, more participants, more highlights on innovation, increased interaction to companies and also reduced time in arranging seminars compared with conventional smaller seminars linked to a certain topic. It was also ideal for most of the participants to have the possibility to attend different related topics, e.g. for precision farming, which includes several subtopics such as robotics, sensors, imaging, soil compaction etc. Thus, NJF Technology greatly appreciated this solution, and would very much like to make this as a tradition every second year linked to the Agromek Fair. In the long run, this should increase the number of participants and it should also be easier to highlight the seminar in advance of the arrangement. The next Agromek Fair will be in November 2016.

Organising committee

  • Nils Bjugstad, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (chair)
  • Snorri Sigurdsson, Knowledge Centre for Agriculture, Iceland (secretary)
  • Allan Pedersen, Agromek & Danish Agroindustry, Denmark
  • Claus Sørensen, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Ole Green, Kongskilde Industries A/S, Denmark
  • Eskil Nilsson, Visavi God Lantmannased AB, Sweden
  • Hannu Haapala, ProAgria South Ostrobothnia, Finland
  • Kestutis Navickas, Institute for Energy and Biotechnology Engineering, Aleksandras Stulginskis University, Lithuania
  • Per Anders Hansson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Mette Johansen, MCH Messecenter Herning Kongrescenter, Denmark (project coordinator)