Hungary’s Széchenyi István University and Spanish IoT specialist Libelium have developed Hungary’s first smart agriculture laboratory. Funded by the European Union and the Hungarian Government, the Field Monitoring Laboratory is situated in Mosonmagyaróvár, in western Hungary, and covers more than 400 hectares of land, making it one of the largest ‘smart farms’ in Europe.
In Hungary, agriculture accounts for 3.2 percent of the country’s GDP and plays an important role in rural development. In 2018, Hungary produced 7.9 million tons of corn, making it the 15th largest producer in the world. However, climate challenges and variations in soil quality mean that new techniques and technology are being sought to help aid farmers decision making and to improve production.
Széchenyi István University’s Field Monitoring Laboratory aims to collect information on the soil and climate, and their effects on the production of corn and wheat. Researchers hope to use this data to offer advice to rural agricultural communities in Hungary and help them to make informed decisions on the digital upgrades that will be of most help.
The Field Monitoring Laboratory uses Libelium’s smart agriculture technology, including Smart Water nodes to detect pH levels and nitrate content of the soil water and Smart Environment nodes which monitor environmental soil conditions such as carbon dioxide levels and ammonia. These sensors are complemented by UAV (unmanned aerial drone) mounted devices, which monitor atmospheric conditions to give additional context to the field data on the effects of climate change on crop growing conditions.
Until now, Hungary’s agricultural sector has relied on manual data collection to analyse soil condition. Smart agriculture allows for soil conditions to be monitored in real-time, providing rapid and clear analysis, and allowing key agricultural decisions to be made faster and more efficiently.
The information collected by the Libelium sensors is sent directly to Budapest public sector company, Antenna Hungária’s Loriot LoRaWAN Cloud. Antenna Hungaria is collaborating in this project with a view to rolling out its network throughout Hungary to aid the faster digitalisation of the country’s agricultural sector. From this cloud service, the Széchenyi István University’s agricultural faculty can develop mobile dashboards and applications using real-time data which, following this initial pilot, could be rolled out to the wider agricultural sector in Hungary.