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 Food and Farming
“Farms of the future will be
operated considerably more
intensively than they are today.” PETER-JOSEF PAFFEN
Chairman of the AGCO Fendt Management Board
Surgical precision for every plant
“Farms of the future will still be farms, but they will be operated considerably more intensively than they are today,” predicts Paffen. He likes to refer to farmers in the future as “children of the sun,” because they will transform solar energy into food. Agriculture needs to undergo this trans- formation because of the veritable ex- plosion in the world’s population. “Meat consumption will decline because we will no longer be able to afford to send grain through animals‘ stomachs,” he says in no uncertain terms.
In order to continue feeding everyone in the future, cultivation will have to become more efficient. That starts with ensuring healthy soil. The nutrients that plants remove from the earth need to be returned to it. Today it is already possible to spread fertilizer with near-surgical precision and thereby minimize effects on the groundwater. Exact dosing prac- tices also benefit biodiversity. Aggres- sive agents such as glyphosate will no longer be needed. “Otherwise, we’ll cut off the branch we’re sitting on,” says the head of Fendt.
Farmers will buy harvesting capacities
instead of machines
In the future, farmers will have an entire arsenal of technical aids at their disposal. The transformation in agriculture will be based on robotics, driverless vehicles, and digital connectiv- ity. Drones will analyze the soil and crops from the air. Small, lightweight, and autonomous robots will serve the welfare of grains and vegetables day and night. These changes will be driven by a flood of data that will help farmers make the right decisions every day on how to cultivate their land as efficiently as possible. “The beneficiaries will be consumers, who will get enough food of unprecedented quality produced in sustain- able, environmentally friendly environments,” says Paffen in summarizing the direction.
Farms of the future will be intelligent and connected in ways analogous to a state-of-the-art automotive production plant. The individual machines will communicate with each other and with the cloud that stores all the data gathered. These data are a sensitive affair. The farmers alone will de- cide what will be made available and what will not. They will, however, benefit from the swarm intelligence generated as a group. AGCO Fendt is prepared for this scenario and already
Autonomous action
Fields can already be cultivated fully automatically—even at night.
When Peter-Josef Paffen has to make major deci- sions, he spends some time on a deer stand. “It’s a superb place to think,” says this passionate hunter and son of a farmer. Since assuming the chair- manship of the AGCO Fendt Management Board in 2009, he has surely passed a few hours sorting his thoughts while gazing out over the beautiful pre-alpine landscape of the Allgäu region.
Efforts in recent years have focused on making this long- established company fit for the future as well. Once a specialist in tractors, it has become a generalist whose product portfolio includes combines and forage harvesters, application systems for fertilizer and crop protection agents, and fodder crop equip- ment. The new strategic orientation, developed together with Porsche Consulting, has proved to be a real success. AGCO Fendt plans to sell around 20,000 tractors in 2020. An ambitious tar- get? Not at all. In 2018 it sold 16,800 tractors—12 percent more than in the preceding year. And this year’s sales are expected to exceed 18,000 units. The company, which is based in the mod- est town of Marktoberdorf—around an hour’s drive southwest of Munich—has a simple secret: “At Fendt, we focus on people, and try to give them more than they expect.”
Otherwise, one is just a follower instead of a leader in innova- tion. Fendt is a leader and wants to keep it that way. After all, high quality and premium service are no longer sufficient to ensure success in this sector. Paffen, a man with alert eyes and a firm handshake, is not the only manager to realize this, or to devote substantial thought to the future of agriculture and what it will look like over the next ten to twenty-five years.
 16 Porsche Consulting The Magazine

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