Farming 4.0: the ecological transition of Italian agriculture proposed by the CIB

The Italian Biogas Consortium proposes a paradigm shift for a "smart" farming: from an agricultural system that fertilises the crop in order to produce it to an agricultural system that, with targeted agronomic management, "fertilises the system" favouring the increase of organic substance and the storage of carbon in the soil, one of the strategic functions of the sector in the fight against climate change.


Farming 4.0 is a great opportunity for the Italian agro-industrial system because it allows the optimisation and greater efficiency of production processes which, in addition to achieving a significant reduction in waste, increase the sustainability of the whole system. Today the CIB – Consorzio Italiano Biogas (Italian Biogas Consortium) launches Action 2 of the project for the agroecological reconversion of Italian agriculture “Farming For Future – 10 actions to cultivate the future” dedicated to Farm 4.0.

Precision farming and work digitisation measures (e.g. use of big & smart data in production processes and internet of things) require high professional skills, expertise and higher investments (2-6% on average) but allow a reduction in fuel consumption of at least 10-15% and processing times of up to 35%; a reduction in average production costs of at least 10-15%; an increase in yields estimated at 7-15% for cereals and, finally, in livestock farming an increase in milk production of 10-15%.

Over the years, Italian biogas companies have distinguished themselves as an important laboratory for innovation, showing a propensity for renewal and investment in the sector,” says Piero Gattoni, president of CIB – Consorzio Italiano Biogas. “The inclusion of the biogas plant in the company has pushed us towards a profound revision not only of production processes, but also of decision-making processes, which are increasingly supported by digitalisation and the interconnection of information. In fact, today agricultural mechanisation is a Made in Italy excellence”.

Continua Gattoni: “Le misure inserite nel PNRR dimostrano una grande attenzione verso la transizione ecologica e la digitalizzazione; con le innovazioni tecnologiche di cui disponiamo oggi saremo in grado di produrre di più utilizzando meno risorse e in modo più efficiente”.

Furthermore, the Smart Agrifood Observatory estimates the value of the Italian farming 4.0 market at 540 million euros with a constant annual growth trend of 15-20% (equal to the average growth in the EU) and with actual application still limited to 3-4% of the cultivated area.

Farming 4.0 enables the monitoring of different stages of production processes, thanks to interconnected digital applications and technologies. In this way, large amounts of data can be collected from every step in the chain, from the farm to the end consumer, on which to base which action to take at the most opportune moment and at the most opportune point.

Among the agricultural companies associated with CIB – Consorzio Italiano Biogas, there are already several virtuous examples of the application of farming 4.0, thanks to which remarkable results are already being achieved.
In the open field, by eliminating overlaps, time wastage has already been significantly reduced, the use of production factors (seeds, fertilisers, plant protection products) has been optimised and diesel consumption has been reduced, resulting in lower costs, less wear and tear on machinery and an increase in environmental sustainability. In addition, data processing is enabling optimisation of production and crop quality.
With the same approach, the implementation of innovations is enabling an increase in milk production per head per day of up to 15%, combined with a significant increase in animal welfare standards.

For these reasons, advanced farming practices with the help of farming 4.0 will be fully included in the climate and environmental support measures of the next CAP, the Common Agricultural Policy. A path already well outlined by the “Farming For Future” project, where farming 4.0, integrated with organic fertilisation with digestate and innovative agricultural processes, is one of the keys to the paradigm shift: from an agricultural system that fertilises crops in order to produce to an agricultural system that, with targeted agronomic management, “fertilises the system”, encouraging an increase in organic matter and carbon storage in the soil, one of the strategic functions of the sector in the fight against climate change.

All this will be the focus of the first stage of the CIB’s BDR Day 2021, on Tuesday 8 June 2021 in Bagnoli di Sopra (Padova) at the Tenuta di Bagnoli farm, to discover the agricultural realities that adopt the Biogasfattobene® model.
During the day, thanks to the application of farming 4.0 technologies, it will be possible to evaluate directly in the field the application of “Farming For Future” actions, from organic fertilisation with high efficiency digestate to sustainable management of double cropping.

BOX. The ten actions of Farming for Future:
#2 FARM 4.0

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