The whole farm on the tablet
21 April 2021 News from the Company
EkoNiva has always been known for using the most cutting-edge technologies. Recently, the largest milk producer in Russia has made a further significant advance in this area creating its own EkoCrop mobile application.
EkoCrop has been developed primarily for agronomists, chief technicians, herd management specialists, farm managers and their deputies.
‘EkoCrop is designed to feed the latest data on the field work into the central database and generate subsequent reports’, says Sergey Kapustin, Precision Farming Director at EkoNiva-APK Holding. ‘Routine reporting used to involve many people, including agronomists, record keepers, chief agronomists and the management. Delays in information transfer could sometimes last for two days. The app has significantly speeded up the entire process. Now the information chain looks like this: the agronomist responsible for the area – the central database – the end user. It takes no more than a few seconds to pass any data along this chain.’
When the app is turned on for the first time, it downloads all the relevant data from the server: the field map, the number of employees connected to the system, the information on the self-propelled and trailed machinery operating in the field and the fertilizers and plant protection agents being used.
The location of the person holding the device is indicated with a blue dot on the map. Every field has its own registration card and is marked with a color, signifying the crop growing in a certain field. The card lists all the operations performed in the area. The user can fill it in with new ones. The application contains the information on the weather records from the last month for a chosen locality and a two-day forecast. In addition, it displays the data on crop rotation for the past three years: sowing and harvesting dates, yield, fertilizer type and the application rate as well as tractors and trailed equipment used to apply them. It also offers the plan for the next year.
Based on the data from EkoNiva’s meteorological stations, the system prepares the weekly air temperature report and the precipitation diagram. Besides, it provides detailed information on the agrochemical properties of soil.
‘Another useful feature of the tool is Field Examination’, continues Sergey Kapustin. ‘Let’s take a corn field, for instance. An agronomist goes there with a tab, examines it and enters the current parameters in the digital form – phenological stage, pest presence per 1 m2 and their species, plant diseases and the amount and type of the weeds. He can even upload a photo taken with the in-built camera or choose it from the gallery. Finally, he adds a comment, and the card is ready.’
Furthermore, the reporting module with flexible settings allows the specialists to access a list of operations carried out for a specific crop within a certain period of time on a chosen farm.
‘We have been using the application since May, and it has taken us to a whole new level’, shares Aleksey Nizkodubov, Chief Agronomist of the Left-Bank Operation of EkoNivaAgro. ‘Now, all the necessary data are at our fingertips, we can instantly get up-to-date information, which enables us to take decisions on urgent issues quicker. It really is an innovation of the future.’
It is worth noting that the app is not merely an accounting and monitoring tool, it is also a reference source. Just recently, the developers have supplemented the application with an illustrated guide to weeds with a description of their botanical composition and control measures. ‘We also want to improve its functionality with a machinery guide. From my point of view, this will be of great help to new agronomists who don’t know the fleet well enough. They can find the required model and adjust the machine settings step by step.’
Specialists of EkoNivaAgro, Voronezh oblast, had been the first to test the new tool. By September, the tablets were distributed all across the holding.
‘When the work in the fields commences in 2021, we would like to abolish Excel spreadsheets and stick to our in-house solution only’, concludes Sergey Kapustin.
By Aleksandr Kytishchev