Bjertorp - Farm of the Future

To be sustainable and profitable, the farming of the future must be tested in practice, via actual cultivation, and by trial and error, to see what works.

We can then see what combination of measures delivers the best outcomes and find innovative solutions to problems. Which is why we are testing new ways of cultivation all the time at our farm of the future in Bjertorp, south of Lake Vänern in Västra Götaland. With a varying climate and many different factors that affect the end results, it is important to take a long term approach and view developments over time.

I work at Lantmännen with precision agriculture, new technology and new farming methods, including at Bjertorps gård where I work closely with the team on site there, headed by Kjell Carlsson. Bjertorp is one of several trial farms that Lantmännen runs in different locations in Sweden, where we test and develop farming in practice and have the opportunity to demonstrate concrete results to farmers.

We are going to accelerate development with a view to reaching the goals described in our report Farming of the Future. Our aim is to create the right conditions for sustainable primary production while halving climate impact every ten years, to become climate-neutral by 2050. It is a case of pocket, planet and productivity as an essential trinity. It is this that’s the big challenge, getting these areas to all move forward at the same time. This is a must. We are trying to create insights and deliver value back to the farmers, to raise the level of knowledge and to generate interest.

We are going to be able to show what the road there looks like at Framtidsgården, applied in practice and commercially viable. We want to present figures that prove it is possible to increase yield and reduce climate impact in line with the graphs in our report:

We have already come a long way within certain areas at Framtidsgården. We adopted precision agriculture many years ago. They have been using N-sensors at the farm since the late 1990s, and this technology has been refined and improved since then. We can already see today from the statistics that Bjertorp harvests are significantly higher than average for the region. This proves that better management, timing and technology make a difference. At the end of the day, it is the farm’s management and determination to optimise farming that are the driving force behind delivering good outcomes. One specific example is an all new combine harvester this year, the Fendt IDEAL, that includes the technology to document the quality of the crop as it is being harvested. This is a unique innovation for agriculture in Sweden, that means you can take quality samples of the grain at square metre level, and then use such data to optimise future work, and to determine what the harvest can be best used for.

Switching to fossil fuel free alternative fuels and testing fossil fuel free fertiliser, will produce specific climate benefits that we can measure. We have already reduced climate emissions via new machines that are more fuel efficient and with more efficient exhaust systems. The machines have an efficient drive line and are self-optimising. GPS systems also make driving in fields more efficient and have reduced fuel consumption by 5-15%.

Examples of steps to boost biodiversity include flowering zones to encourage pollinators and lark plots that help larks nest and forage. Crop protection is optimised with the help of new technology in the farm, where the amount of crop protection used is based on verdancy, which can also benefit biodiversity.

Future initiatives can concern adapting to a changing climate, carbon capture and storage via catch and intermediate crops for example, and monitoring the humus content in soil to see how it is changing and what this will mean for farming, climate change emissions and the environment. The fact that we document all this at a detailed level will also enable cooperation with research where I can see soil health as an area of interest.

We intend to publish more information on what is happening at Bjertorp, and invite more visitors to see for themselves how the farming of the future is emerging. Our members, customers and other stakeholders have shown a big interest and I look forward to taking discussions to the next level with them. If we are to achieve our goals, we all need to cooperate and maintain a dialogue and l will be happy for Framtidsgården Bjertorp to act as an arena for such talks.

Read more about Bjertorp farm

We can already see today from the statistics that Bjertorp harvests are significantly higher than average for the region.

Johan Wågstam Teknik- och digital utvecklare, Lantmännen
+46 706 765 743