The challenges of sustainable development for the agricultural sector, whether economic, environmental or social, are unavoidable.

The challenges of sustainable development for the agricultural sector, whether they are economic, environmental, or social, are inevitable. In a global competition against the backdrop of climate change and declining fossil fuels, agriculture must rise to this challenge or risk weakening its economic model.

Agroecological transition must play a central role because the preservation and mastery of natural factors in agricultural production, such as soils and biodiversity, can be combined with savings in inputs and energy, and even an increase in the added value of products. This transition also improves the image of the agricultural world and maintains highly skilled local jobs. In support of this transition, new technologies continue to offer innovative solutions to farmers.

Overview of solutions and technologies available on the market, also presented at SIMA.

How new technologies are revolutionizing the sector

In recent years, many technological barriers have been overcome, allowing companies to undergo a cultural revolution and focus their expertise on tools that aid in agroecological transition. Another lever that will boost the sector is that access to bank loans is now more conditioned by the environmental performance of companies. This will also encourage technological innovation in companies. Five major trends point to technological progress in support of agroecological transition:

  • REDUCTION OF PESTICIDE USE: Thanks to the progress of intelligent, ultra-precise sprayers, there has been a significant reduction in the use of phytosanitary products. For example, there are sprayers tailored for viticulture that target only the leaves using artificial intelligence. There are many technical innovations in this field, especially when sowing in association or in a vegetative cover without soil preparation. These machines mechanically reduce the pressure of biotic aggressors, thus reducing the need for crop protection and fertilizer use. Artificial intelligence helps reduce nitrogen (the largest greenhouse gas emission factor in agriculture) and pesticides.
  • ROBOTICS: Many specialized small companies, both French and foreign, are developing this market to assist farmers, regardless of the size of their farms. For instance, the "Farmdroid" robot can sow and weed with precision based on its knowledge of the position of each seed it has sown. Many robots are entering the market, relieving humans of repetitive and tiring tasks while allowing them to make decisions. These robots promote a more environmentally friendly "precision" agriculture. Companies working in this emerging market promise, through precision, the end of insecticide or herbicide spraying. Some robots can autonomously weed vegetable plantations. The drone market is also developing with drones capable of producing biomass maps using sensors, which allows for better adjustment of nitrogen application.
  • AGRIVOLTAICS: Photovoltaic panels, already widely used on buildings, are now appearing in fields, allowing for a mix of agricultural protection and energy production in plots. This trend has been adopted and offered by several companies. Solar energy also has other agricultural applications, such as drying using solar collectors, which improve drying capacity and forage quality while saving energy.
  • INTERCROPPING: The seeding process is at the heart of a technological revolution. Intercropping or companion planting improves soil biology, better protection against diseases, and more efficient use of natural fertility elements (nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, etc.), resulting in reduced use of fertilizers and pesticides while improving production and product quality. In this seeding domain, there are seeders that allow for better positioning of crops, with several species sown at the appropriate density and depth for each species. Seeders with multiple hoppers are increasingly common, often up to four, with work on combinations of sowing depths. Artificial intelligence also plays a major role in this precision work, requiring accuracy down to the centimeter.
  • DECARBONIZATION: The gradual phase-out of diesel is underway. In the context of decarbonization policy since 2015, tractors sold must emit less than 0.4 g/kW of nitrogen oxide, 0.19g/kW of unburned hydrocarbons, 5 g/kW of carbon dioxide, and 0.025 g/kW of fine particles. However, to completely move away from non-renewable energy sources, alternatives must be found. Electrification is the first alternative, although hindered by the high power requirements of machines and limited battery autonomy. However, ongoing work on battery performance could change the game. Hydrogen is another alternative suitable for high power and the required autonomy in the agricultural sector. The significant reduction in the cost of hydrogen installations will make this solution more competitive, pushing agricultural machinery companies to work daily on these issues. All agricultural machinery companies are working on these solutions.

New technologies at the heart of SIMA

On the occasion of its hundredth anniversary, SIMA – the International Exhibition of Solutions and Technologies for Efficient and Sustainable Agriculture – will bring together nearly 1,500 companies from around the world. This is an essential event showcasing the latest technologies that meet the needs of all farmers, regardless of the size of their operations and their mode of production. Here are some examples of technical solutions that are presented at SIMA.

logo & Agrowin Scalpwin's tractor "Scalpeur modulable"

The first independent disc scalper-seeder on the market

Presented by Agrowin International. This "Scalpwin" ensures very shallow scalping at about 2 cm across the entire working width. This performance reduces the use of glyphosate and allows for precise weed management.
Logo & Amazone's independent disc coulter-spreader

A soil mapping system called

The "Cenius-TX Zone Finder" by Amazone won last year's SIMA Innovation Awards. It is a telemetry module that maps soils in real-time during the cultivator's pass, detecting soil compaction to better understand soil fertility and improve it.
Aerial photo of a building with Base's photo-voltaic panels

A thermo-voltaic forage drying solution

Base offers thermo-voltaic drying panels. A tool that can be used to combine agricultural production with the production of electrical energy, thereby reducing energy consumption.
Logo Smag

An environmental diagnostic tool

"Smag Trace" by Smag, which diagnoses the ecological footprint of agricultural farms (greenhouse gases, carbon, biodiversity). This solution supports farmers in all stages of the High Environmental Value (HVE) collective certification.
Logo & Photo of the Intelligent Spray Control System from Smart-Apply

A laser-guided sprayer system

"Intelligent Spray Control System" by Smart-Apply, which sprays crops based on real-time density, controlling each spray nozzle independently to significantly reduce the use of phytosanitary products.
Logo & Photo of Stecomat's Farmdroid FD20

The robot that sows and weeds

A precision seeder and weeder robot called "Farmdroïd FD20," presented by Stecomat, which sows and weeds with great precision, reducing the use of phytosanitary products.

Actors in agroecological transition:

"Our Smart Apply Intelligent Spray Control System, based on laser or Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) remote sensing, adapts to existing sprayers, scans foliage density in real time, and controls the sprayer flow rate per nozzle using pulse width modulation (PWM). The system reduces the use of chemicals by an average of 50% while maintaining crop protection, helping farmers succeed in agroecological transition, save on input costs, and protect the environment."
Steve Booher
Founder and President of Smart Apply
Portrait of Steve Booher, Founder and President of Smart Apply
"For several years, the Burel Group has been developing Sulky and Sky Agriculture seeders equipped with multiple hoppers (2, 3, or 4 depending on the models). These solutions reduce the use of inputs. With a multi-hopper seeder, it is possible to locate fertilizer at sowing, precisely sow cover crop mixtures, combine legumes and cereals by sowing intercrops, or plant multiple varieties of the same species. With these innovations, we accelerate the development of sustainable solutions that support farmers in achieving better economic, agronomic, and environmental performance while taking care of our soils."
David GUY
General Manager of Burel Solutions
Portrait of David GUY, Managing Director of Burel Solutions
"Agroecological transition is an essential theme in the development of Pöttinger equipment. For example, our range of tools for crop maintenance includes a rotary hoe, a harrow, and a weeder; these three tools are essential for mechanical weed control. Our range of seeders, equipped with two or even three pressure hoppers, enhances sowing efficiency, allowing for intercropping to take advantage of plant synergies or incorporating fertilizer directly at sowing to limit volatilization. Our Sensosafe game detection system, optionally mounted on the mowers in our range, actively contributes to the preservation of wildlife during mowing operations."
Francois Helfter
Marketing Manager at Pöttinger
Portrait of Francois Helfter, Marketing Manager at Pöttinger
"Amazone supports our farmers in choosing equipment for more resilient agriculture. Limiting fuel consumption, ultra-localized input application, companion planting... these are the current agricultural challenges and issues. Whether it's soil preparation, seeding, or input modulation, innovation is the answer to optimizing our 4.0 agriculture. Amazone symbolizes a strong on-field presence to advise, guide, and demonstrate our equipment in real conditions."
Olivier Groué
Director of Communication and Commercial Animation at Amazone
Portrait of Olivier Groué, Director of Communications and Sales Promotion at Amazone