14th ICPA – Recap
The 14th edition of the International Conference on Precision Agriculture ICPA 2018 highlighted some of the most important research done around the world regarding this discipline. The conference, organized by the International Society Of Precision Agriculture (ISPA), took place in the city of Montreal, Canada during the month of June 2018. The ICPA 2018 was the perfect scenario to introduce emerging technologies and a great opportunity for society members to discuss on how PAG is being implemented in other countries.
This was the second time AV3 AEROVISUAL attended the Conference as members of the ISPA. In this past edition, we had the chance to meet with scientists, crop consultants, advisors, agronomists, producers, service providers and scientists working with artificial intelligence and machine learning for PAG.
For AV3 AEROVISUAL, was a great chance to connect, learn, share experiences, and most important, to create content that could help us better understand the moment Precision Ag is facing. During those days we were able to talk with some of the top leading personalities in the field, scientists who have been involved in precision agriculture from its earliest stages and whom have a clear vision regarding its possibilities, needs and challenges. Also, we had as a special highlight of the conference, the honor of having our CEO Pedro Olivares Sáinz appointed as the ISPA Representative for Mexico.
Is evident for us now the need of technologies capable to deliver results, almost in real time, for farmers regardless of their place (or size) in the food production chain. Sustainability is one of the main topics and the motor that will drive scientific research in the upcoming years. After 200 scientific talks, 30 interventions by industry representatives and 20 keynotes; we are excited to recognize our place in the world map of Precision Agriculture.
Dr. Nicolas Tremblay – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – Plant Nutrition and Crop Management Specialist Horticultural R&D Center.
Member of the ISPA since the first years of the Society, Mr. Tremblay talked about the spatial variability vision that used to permeate the scientific vision towards Precision Ag; and how after all this time, it hasn’t been able to fully address the satisfaction of the users.
Nicolas Tremblay, former president of the ISPA, considers precision agriculture has to provide solutions that are applicable for farmers and food producers. In order to reach this goal, he thinks is necessary to access to appropriate data, achieve a better data mining experience, find the proper relationships, and provide useful answers for the people working on the field.
On the other hand, Tremblay urges the community to find a balance between sustainability, productivity and the economy of the sector, to do innovative things, learn from other groups mistakes and most important, have a sense of thinking out of the box.
Dr. Terry Griffin – Agricultural Economist and Cropping Systems Economist Kansas State University.
Terry Griffin, who has been a very active member of the Society since the beginning and a proactive evangelist of precision agriculture, believes data generated at the farm level, combined with data collected from manufacturers of equipment, retailers and consumers; is going to be a huge topic in the upcoming years.
From Dr. Griffin´s point of view, Precision Ag technologies such as yield monitors, grid soil sampling, variable rate technologies; haven’t been as instantaneously improving farmers lives. In his consideration, it takes strong management abilities to make proper use of data. Therefore, it is necessary to make data technologies and the decisions made from them, more automated.
Dr. Johan Perret – Professor of Soil Management and Precision Agriculture at EARTH University, Costa Rica.
Johan Perret, who his main focus of study has been on sustainable soil management and efficient use of fertilizers and water in agriculture; shared his opinion regarding the role that precision agriculture needs to take in order to truly deliver solutions for the farmers. For him is necessary to have criteria to make better decisions in order to reduce the costs of agriculture.
Perret incites no to leave behind small and medium producers from the progress of agriculture and out of the reach of new technologies; for him precision agriculture has to be seen, not as an end in itself, but a means to have a sustainable agriculture.
Philippe Vigneault, B.Sc. – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Philippe Vigneault, instructor at the “UAV Operation and Data Analysis for Precision Agriculture Applications” workshop given at the 14th ICPA, shared his view on the subject and the importance of including farmers and producers in the process of precision agriculture. From his point of view the ultimate solution is connectivity, and the development and implementation of technologies that could gather data and deliver precise, immediate, and useful results to the end user. For Vigneault, “farmers are our main client”, therefore their presence in this kind of events is crucial if we want to have a better perspective on what are the real needs of the sector.
Dr. Javier Tardaguila – Head researcher at Televitis Group, and professor at La Rioja University, Spain.
Javier Tardaguila, who is passionate about viticulture considered the importance to achieve more knowledge in soil depth, to develop prediction models of growth or diseases. For him is necessary to make the information obtained from precision agriculture technologies accessible for the final user, more simple, faster and cheaper. For Dr. Tardaguila is crucial to bring closer those technologies to the farmer, and demonstrate why they are useful and valuable.
Dr. Ian Yule – Professor in Precision Agriculture Massey University New Zealand and President of the International Society of Precision Agriculture.
Dr. Ian Yule, believes the long-term trend is sustainability and producing high quality foods. In his consideration, the first step to reach this goal is data processing, and the ability to turn that data into information. For the ISPA president to value “the way farmers are using their brains” is essential to understand the processes within agriculture, it is this process according to him, in which scientists need to pay more attention. As far as what he thinks for the near future, he would like to see farmers having a more relaxed time and also be economically sustainable as well as environmentally.