Agricultural field production in an ‘Industry 4.0’ concept
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Precision Agriculture is a well-established concept in agricultural field production. It has developed over the last three decades. As part of this concept, farmers are used to collect and handle data. Farmers are also used to create solutions for field operations based on their knowledge of diversity and local data. When compared to classic industrial production, agricultural field operations interact with a biologically-active system. From a production management system point of view, industrial production takes place in close, well-defined environments in which performance data can, to a great extent, be measured by deterministic matters: mass (kg), volume/dimensions (m3 /m), time (sec), etc. In agricultural operations such as work involving tillage, seeding, fertilising, and plant care, there are by nature a good many possible adjustments available in order to optimise the operation method, plus intensity and timing. The challenge here is to establish the levels of knowledge that are necessary to support the control of the individual and/or graduated, precision-based operations. Within this context, parameters such as, for example, the workability of the soil cannot be defined in terms of a few deterministic parameters. Neither can the operational impact upon the soil which is made by the tools being used. It is assumed that this challenge is part of the reason why the concept of precision agriculture still contains a great deal of unutilised potential. The hypothesis raised by this article is that analysis should be carried out in regard to whether inspiration for the concept of an ‘Industry 4.0’ can facilitate the establishment of operational solutions in the field of precision farming.