On 18 June 2020, the South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency organized its first study visit for Regions 4Food project in an unusual way. Due to the current Covid-19 epidemic, the meeting was held online, where, in addition to representatives from the seven partner regions, Hungarian and foreign stakeholders from the food industry and the agricultural sector also appeared. The topic of the event was the presentation of the three South Transdanubian Good Practices in the digitization of the food- and agri-industry.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Zsolt Pálmai, deputy director of STRIA, greeted the participants, then briefly introduced the program of the study visit and the three speakers.

First, Mr. László Farkas, managing director of Farkas Ltd. and his partner Dr. István Borsiczky, managing director of Tomelilla Ltd., gave a presentation on precision field farming. After playing three relevant videos, the depot of Farkas Ltd. in Zimány was presented. The presentation began with the main objectives of digitized agricultural production: efficiency, stability, environmental awareness and sustainability. One of the cornerstones of precision farming is that the homogeneous zones within the heterogeneous field receive different doses of treatment (nutrient, seed, pesticide). It is very important that the area is properly surveyed, which is usually done by soil scanning. They examine a wide range of capacities, including physical diversity, soil humus content, and pH. Based on these data, the conditions of fertilization in the given areas are also determined. As a result, professionally validated doses are spread with safety, so the quality of the crop improves, the possibility of operative error eliminates and the actual placements automatically recorded. In addition, the herbicide savings are also significant. Finally, the results of precision field farming were discussed:

  • the quality of placements improves,
  • results in better utilization of available resources,
  • has a better chance of increasing yields at a given cost level,
  • results in cost savings,
  • reduces environmental impact,
  • improves the efficiency of labour,
  • improves working conditions through the use of automation.

As the second Good Practice, the Bos Frucht Agrarian Cooperative was presented by Mr. Barna Egyed the Chairman of the Board. The Cooperative is a 100% family owned and managed business. They currently own about 2,000 hectares of land on which 2,600 dairy cattle are kept. The average daily milk yield of the animals is around 80,000 kg of raw milk. The dairy and processing company is based on a stabile raw material base, modern production technologies and continuous improvements. Among the innovations, it is worth mentioning the cultivation of fertilizer-free forage (manure irrigation) on approximately 700 hectares, as well as the efficient milking technology (rotary system). In terms of modern production technologies, it has introduced a “freestall” system, which indicates the bedding area where cattle are provided with cubicles (stalls) where they can rest. Feeding grounds and bedding areas are cleaned daily to maintain the comfort, health and production performance of the cows. In this “freestall” system, the cows go into the milking parlour at least twice and spend the rest of the time in the stables where they can rest, eat and move freely. In addition, the company introduced high tech milking process. In a rotary milking system, the cows walk onto a slowly rotating platform. The milker puts on the cups and the cows are milked while the platform revolves. When a cycle is almost complete, the cups are automatically removed and the cow backs off the platform. As well as, a new software to facilitate digitization, such as the Agrovir system, has been introduced, making inventory management, cost monitoring and analysis, and workforce management easier. Or the HerdMetrix software package, which manages cow life management information in a user-friendly environment.

Third, the Industry4.0 Technology Center of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) was introduced by Mr. László Kovács, head of the Center. The project was originally set up as part of the Economic Development and Innovation Operational Program in 2017-2019 with the aim of supporting small and medium-sized enterprises through “industry4.0 sample applications” through digitization and automation. The mission of the Center is trough taking advantage of the fourth industrial revolution Hungary could have more and more modern and competitive enterprises. Therefore, they provide education and support to those interested and want to get as many I4.0 projects launched with the right resources in the country as possible. Businesses need to create digitally supported efficient production systems where equipment communicates with each other and collaborates along the value chain. Finally, he gave a “live demonstration” of three demonstration points at the Technology Center. One of them is the so-called “digital twin”, the essence of which is that the intelligent system is able to optimize the production process based on the data created through the continuous communication of devices and products. The digital mapping of this physical system is called the digital twin. An intelligent system designed in this way can gather “experience”. The other was the “fault source identification” scenario. Typically, complex systems operate in an industrial environment, the components of which work closely together. Failure of one component will cause failure of several other components. The system created jointly by the BME Department of Automation and Applied Informatics (AUT) and NetVisor detects the source of such chain-like failures.

The participants of the study visit were able to get a comprehensive picture of the three Hungarian Good Practices. Several questions were put to the speakers, who were able to provide a satisfactory answer.

The videos of Farkas Ltd. can be reach through the following links:

https://youtu.be/EPsxKcTnEaQ

https://youtu.be/5SwQujLpxJM

https://youtu.be/YCD8wkpt23c

The Regions 4Food project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Hungary.