Benedikt Groß has used digital printing to map out seed placement for an 11.5 hectacre piece of land in Germany. Operating on the premise that precision farming is the way of the future, and that digital mapping can help promote diversity and therefore reduce incidents of vermin and the amount of pesticide required to keep crops alive, the Royal College of Art graduate used custom software, GPS tracking and the latest farm equipment to map out a field of oats and wildflowers.
“You could say in the last 50 years everything was about mechanisation to increase scale and efficiency, but the next thing in farming is digitalisation and precision farming, where everything is going to be mapped right down to the single plant,” Benedikt Groß told Dezeen.
Groß used algorithms to figure out an ideal map for oats and wildflowers for the 11.5 hectare plot in Unterwaldhausen and then used a tractor used in agricultural R&D to map out the outline. He then passed over the field twice – first to plant the oats, which took up 85 percent of the plot and then an additional pass to plant several species of wildflowers that comprise the remaining 15 percent – using special equipment adapted to the tractor that sowed seeds like the head of a printer, according to Dezeen.
Groß is convinced that EU farmers can receive government assistance to plant more ecologically-balanced fields using digital mapping and precision agriculture. “With the flower mix I’m using, you can get subsidies – a few hundred euros per hectare I think,” he said. “It’s really plausible that a farmer could get subsidies on top of an energy production deal.”