Tillage is one of the most important sectors within Danish agriculture with 75% of the country’s farmers growing cereal crops.
In addition, home-grown forage maize is a key component of the rations fed to ruminant livestock in Denmark.
Improving sustainability across agriculture as a whole is a key research and development objective for Denmark.
Tillage in Denmark
Where tillage is concerned, two key objectives have been established. These are: The growing of more protein crops – including beans, other legumes and grass; and the more sustainable use of all crop fertilisers and agrochemicals.
SEGES Innovation is the independent organisation charged with the responsibility of carrying out the research and development (R&D) required across all the sectors of Danish agriculture. It is a farmer-funded body.
SEGES works closely with universities in Denmark as well as a number of international research partners.
Members of the Irish Farm Buildings Association along with Agriland, recently visited SEGES’ main research centre, close to the city of Aarhus.
While there, they received an update on a number of current R&D projects from staff member, Jenn Hales Pedersen.
Where crop management is concerned, she highlighted to the availability of new digital imagery-based systems, which allow tillage farmers to gauge exactly when to apply fertilisers, fungicides and other agrochemical to best effect.
In the first instance, the CropManager system provides users with software to map out crops. It also offers access to sowing history and weather forecasts
The system provides farmers with the latest satellite imagery of the biomass available from their growing crops.
As a consequence, a full assessment is available of when best to spray crops or apply fertiliser.
Hales Pedersen explained: “Farmers using the CropManager System are provided with full advisory updates along with the satellite imagery, which they can download.
“The imagery is delivered courtesy of the Geographic Information System technology that is at the very heart of the new system.”
Denmark has committed to having its farming and food sectors achieve a carbon ‘net zero’ position by 2050.
To help secure this objective, SEGES has developed a bespoke Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) digital tool.
The calculations in the climate tool are based on the individual farm’s own data which is transferred automatically.
By using the tool, the farmer is able to calculate his/her farm’s footprint and how possible changes in feed, fertiliser management, field management, new technologies or investments can impact the carbon imprint positively or negatively.
ESG is constantly developing new calculation methods, which are integrated into the climate tool on an ongoing basis.
Significantly, all the Danish banks are now seeking confirmation that a farmer is using ESG as one of the criteria determining the availability of credit.