SmartCloudFarming – More efficiency in soil management

SmartCloudFarming – More efficiency in soil management

"Agriculture lags behind other industries technologically and economically. Data-based solutions are only slowly taking hold and on a small scale - in other words, insufficiently", says Suvrajit Saha (Co-Founder SmartCloudFarming).

As part of the Farm-Food-Climate Challenge, ProjectTogether is looking for solutions for climate-positive agriculture and nutrition. SmartCloudFarming provides one of these solutions: The soil analytics start-up from Berlin combines satellite data with artificial intelligence to analyse and assess large areas of land. With this method, SmartCloudFarming wants to facilitate soil management and develop recommendations for action for regenerative agriculture based on the data obtained.

Less costs and effort through data

SmartCloudFarming works with agricultural cooperatives and food companies that want to manage their fields more efficiently. While there are already machines that drive autonomously, for example, and the possibility of making crop forecasts with the help of a satellite, agriculture is lagging behind in other areas. These include insufficient data, which makes it difficult to manage the soil properly and over a wide area. SmartCloudFarming aims at closing this data gap and make soil management data-driven, so that soils can be displayed in 3D, i.e. in depth, in the future.

Michele Bandecchi (left) and Suvrajit Saha (right) at the field trial in Italy with hyperspectral aerial imagery. (Photo: SmartCloudFarming GmbH)

Currently, traditional soil management is time-consuming and costly. It begins with the physical removal of the soil from the field, which in itself is time-consuming and work-intensive. The subsequent laboratory analysis, for example of the carbon content in the soil, also costs up to 10,000 euros for an area of 15 hectres.

Thus SmartCloudFarming has developed its own method, which is more cost-effective than the common laboratory analysis of soil samples. Moreover, their method delivers the necessary results much faster, namely in hours instead of weeks. SmartCloudFarming’s soil analysis basically depends on the available data. This involves data on soil texture or soil moisture. The start-up collects the data itself by using soil sensors, taking soil samples or, in some cases, using drones equipped with a hyperspectral camera. One advantage of the process is that after the first few attempts, no or only a few more soil samples are needed. SmartCloudFarming has developed an algorithm that works with the collected satellite and soil data. Based on the monitoring data and the results, agronomists can eventually recommend courses of action.

About the Farm-Food-Climate Challenge

In the spirit of the European Green Deal, the Farm-Food-Climate Challenge has sought 100+ approaches to climate-positive agriculture and nutrition. For the challenge, the ProjectTogether team and partners drew on the experience and networks from the successful #WirVsVirus hackathon. Around 28,000 people took part in the world’s largest hackathon within 48 hours and worked together on over 1,500 solutions to the challenges of our time. Over 150 projects subsequently made their way into implementation.

Similarly, the Farm-Food-Climate-Challenge offers a platform for innovative initiatives from society that want to create sustainable development along the entire value chain of the agricultural and food sector. Designers of tomorrow’s ecologically and economically sustainable world were invited to submit their ideas and solutions by the end of July 2020. Together with experts and partners from business, politics and civil society, ideas were then tested and validated in practice for nine months. Like the #WirVsVirus Hackathon, the Challenge is supported by the Vodafone Institute.