DLG e.V. - DLG-Agrifuture Insights Report Poland 2018 - Arable Farming

Country Report for Poland 2018 – Arable Farming

Prices and stability have priority when purchasing machines, focus on stubble cultivation and high performance, desire for better machine guidance

  • When purchasing agricultural technology, Polish cash crop producers appear to be very price-sensitive. In addition, stable technology and problem-free handling are also important to them.
  • Farmers place importance on high-performance technology, for it enables processing measures at a time favourable for arable farming. Intensive stubble cultivation serves for weed and disease regulation and for preventing resistance to herbicides.
  • Cash crop producers want new technology for improved machine control. Mechanical weed control plays a major role in crop protection for them.

When making new purchases, Polish cash crop producers not only pay close attention to the purchase price and spare parts prices; stable implements and machines are also important to them. Over 90 percent of the responses in each case of the cash crop producers surveyed in Poland emphasise this. Due to growing areas and working widths, the requirements for the durability of technology are demanding. Furthermore, implements and machines that can be adjusted and used easily and without problems and are maintenance-friendly are also important to farmers.

The survey also shows that there is a great need among Polish cash crop producers for an objective evaluation of the product quality before purchasing. Over 70 percent of those surveyed obtain information in advance on the quality of the machines or implements they are interested in with the aid of test results. Quality tests therefore are both used for product differentiation and are an important criterion for the purchasing decision.

For two-thirds of those surveyed, the manufacturer's brand and the local proximity to the dealer are important aspects that also influence the purchase. The brand has a strong orienting function on the agricultural technology market for cash crop producers. It gives a promise of quality to farmers and reduces the perceived risk when making a purchase. A dealer with a location near the farmer's farming operation ensures that fast service is provided when necessary.

Telemetry technology is an important aspect for 50 % of those surveyed when making an investment decision. As a result, the majority of farmers sees the advantages of telemetry systems, such as simplified data transfer and real-time utilisation of the data, e.g. for optimising settings or for supporting machine maintenance and monitoring.

Cash crop producers are faced with challenges in arable farming, such as resistances of grass weeds to herbicides. These require adjustments in the production processes. For example Polish cash crop producers place great importance on intensive stubble cultivation. In addition to a thorough, uniform mixing in of organic substances and good preparation of the seed bed, phytosanitary objectives are also pursued. On the one hand, fast rotting reduces the pressure of pests and diseases for the subsequent crop. Moreover, this measure can reduce the weed and grass weed infestation before the first use of herbicide, therefore preventing the risk of herbicide resistances. Here an Important measure is the utilisation of times optimal for arable farming for sowing, fertilisation and crop protection. The focus is particularly on the right sowing time to achieve optimally developing stocks.

High performance, increased organic mass in the soil and spreading of nutrients close to the roots are additional elements for meeting challenges in arable farming. High yields and productivity in arable farming are closely timed to optimised soil tillage and fertilisation, which are adjusted to the respective local conditions. The unpredictability of the weather and the increase in weather extremes requires more than ever high-performance technology in order to optimally utilise even short processing windows. Another element in the strategy of adjusting arable farming to more extreme weather conditions, is an increase in the organic substance in the soil. For this results in a higher water retention ability and helps reduce decreased yields in dry periods.

Fertilisation plays a central role in arable farming. Here farmers are faced with the challenge of harmonising profitability and environmental aspects. This explains the desire of Polish cash crop producers for improved fertilisation technology.

As a result, for the majority of the farmers surveyed, automatic steering systems, digital maps and machine monitoring via telemetry are all important areas assigned to precision farming with the objective of improved machine management and documentation, as well as a more efficient use of farm inputs.

Despite the introduction of digitalisation in Polish arable farming, "analogue" technology continues to be important to farmers. This is shown by the expectations for further developments in mechanical weed control, which are together reached by over 50 percent of the responses. Due to changing basic legal conditions, e.g. stricter requirements for chemical crop protection and increasing resistances, mechanical weed control is once again becoming more important. Here the focus of interest is on hoeing and harrowing.

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