Tag: Platform

The APOLLO platform is ready to be revealed. Get a sneak peek of the main features!

Here is a sneak peek of the APOLLO service platform, which is already being tested by farmers in the APOLLO pilot areas. The platform is scheduled to be launched to the wider public in a few months.

For three years, the APOLLO team has been working alongside farmers and farming experts in order to develop a user-friendly platform for agricultural professionals. Today, for the first time, we share with you an exclusive sneak peek into the APOLLO platform.

Under the hood, APOLLO is based on complex inputs from Copernicus data, local weather models and agronomical models. In turn, APOLLO provides farmers and agricultural consultants with easy-to-apply information for their daily field management activities.

Dashboard

APOLLO platform dashboardAPOLLO platform – the main dashboard

The dashboard screen shown above gives the user an overview of all her/his registered crops, as well as eye-catching icons representing alerts related to each APOLLO service. The user is able to choose the field she/he wishes to view with just one click.

APOLLO platform – the main dashboard: crop view

When selecting a specific crop from the dashboard, the user can see more details about her/his crops, including any related notifications that might require special attention. In the example shown above, there is no notification for the user.

Tillage Scheduling
Having selected a crop to check, the user has the option to select specific information concerning the service from a scroll down menu.

APOLLO platform – the Tillage Scheduling service

In the example above, the user has selected to check the soil moisture of the cotton field. This information is presented as an overlay on the satellite image of the field. The moisture level is displayed at sub-parcel level. In this example, three different shades of orange reflect the different moisture levels across the field. Red represents the areas where soil moisture is at its highest, darker orange represents the areas where soil is less moist (but still fairly high) and light orange shows the areas with the least moisture. Users can click anywhere on the map to reveal the soil moisture value at that point.
Next to the soil moisture field map, localised weather parameters are shown, graphed to show changes over time. The user can select from a list of parameters including temperature. The combination of soil moisture and weather allows the user to make informed decisions about when and where to irrigate.

Along with the near real-time view, farmers also have access to historical information, which is provided in the graph (shown below the map in the above example).

These screenshots were only a sneak peek of what the APOLLO platform looks like and of some of its main features. The APOLLO platform will be available to all soon., stay tuned.

APOLLO services go live to trial users!

Starting this month, and until the end of September 2017, APOLLO services will be tested in the field by trial users as part of the project’s pilot phase. This exciting development represents a milestone in the development of the services and will pave the way for their future evolution.

The first agricultural season will pave the way towards the 2nd agricultural season later in 2018 and the finalisation of services which is scheduled for early 2019.

APOLLO’s pilot phase is a co-creation process between growers, consultants and the APOLLO team, during which the initial versions of the services are put to the test and validated in fields in Greece, Serbia and Spain. Each pilot region has its own environmental characteristics as well as its own farming tradition, and the services will be tested on both irrigated and non-irrigated crops.
APOLLO aims to develop effective, easy to use yet affordable advisory services, and this wouldn’t be possible without meaningful engagement with farmers and consultants, trying the services in real-life conditions. In this way, not only will the services be tested and constantly improved, but trial users will be trained (free of charge) and informed on how to exploit APOLLO technology for the benefit of their farms.

This is a great opportunity for farmers and agricultural consultants to participate in the creation of new services, which are closely tailored to their needs. APOLLO aims to provide advice for both farmers and agricultural consultants, and more specialised data (such as NDVI, biomass, soil moisture information etc.) to agricultural consultants. With APOLLO, the benefits of recommendations will out weight their costs, as by design APOLLO will be available at a very competitive price.
APOLLO pilot activities during the first agricultural season will cover a range of crops in the pilot areas, as per the following table:

May-September 2017
Pilot Country Crop
Agricultural Association of Pella Greece
  • Cotton
  • Durum wheat
Municipality of Ruma Serbia
  • Barley
  • Maize
  • Sunflower
  • Sugarbeet
  • Winter wheat
  • Soybean
La Mancha Oriental Spain
  • Maize
  • Winter wheat
  • Chinese garlic
  • Purple garlic
  • Wine grapes
  • Almond trees
  • Olive trees

If you are interested you can register here to become a trial user at any time.

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With farmers, for farmers: the APOLLO co-creation process

APOLLO services aim to help primarily small-holder farmers in Europe and beyond to achieve more sustainable farming practices, fewer losses and potentially increased agricultural yields. Placing benefits for farmers at the forefront, a co-creation approach is being implemented to guide the APOLLO services’ development, through which end users will have the opportunity to contribute to the creation of the services and their validation. Developing affordable, accessible and efficient agricultural services is about understanding traditional farming methods and how new technologies can support, enrich and enhance them.

We care about your experience

Yield increases, lower costs and sustainable farming practices are the ultimate goals of the APOLLO services. But no two farms are exactly alike; there is a great of diversity in farm specificities, local ecosystems and the farming methods used. This is true of different regions and countries and even between local farms within the same geographical area. Understanding the farmer’s real challenges and needs across the agricultural season, for various crops and in a range of environmental conditions is therefore essential in the service development process. The valuable knowledge which farmers have about their land, water, crops and other local resources can be used to develop better, more tailored services.

Working closely together with farmers will guarantee improved user experiences. It will enable the development of solutions that can be easily incorporated into traditional practices, improving sustainable farming and potentially lead to more profitable yields.

With farmers, for farmers

It was early in the lifetime of the APOLLO project that end users were invited to contribute to the development of service concepts. Farmers from the pilot areas have expressed their requirements through APOLLO’s online survey and through surveys conducted in the field by local project partners. The farmers’ feedback was collected and assessed by APOLLO experts, and formed the basis for the development of the APOLLO platform. Once the initial APOLLO services are available, they will be tested and validated during the agricultural seasons in 2017 and 2018, in three countries of continental Europe: Greece, Serbia and Spain.

We invite you to join us

In 2017, the APOLLO co-creation process will be launched through three collaborative workshops to be held in each pilot area, to be held before and during the agricultural season (March-September 2017). The meetings will bring together local farmers, agricultural consultants, WUA* technicians and APOLLO developers. Participants will be invited to contribute, evaluate, and refine ideas and concepts related to the APOLLO services. Together, developers and farmers will discuss current practices, evaluate the preliminary APOLLO service designs and generate solutions together, taking into account their different approaches, needs, and points of view.

After each meeting a follow-up session will be held in order to discuss emerging issues and the progress of the APOLLO pilots. These meetings will be used to assess and identify the practices and the challenges farmers deal with in their daily farm management routine, as well as the benefits that the APOLLO services are bringing to these activities. Based on the current best farming practices registered and the users’ feedback on the use of APOLLO services, APOLLO developers will be able to constantly improve and tailor the different services, to maximise the overall user experience.

If you are interested to learn more about the APOLLO co-creation meetings and how you can benefit by participating, please feel free to contact us.

Special thanks to our co-creation coordinator Dr. Anna Ossan (AgriSat) for her contribution to this article
Image credits: Vicente Bodas

*WUA: Water User Associations

What to expect from APOLLO in 2017?

2017 will be a milestone year for the APOLLO project, since it will be the first time that APOLLO services are tested and validated on operational farms and fields. The APOLLO project has covered a lot of ground in the short nine months since it began, and as the new year dawns, we thought it would be a good moment to reflect on what has been achieved so far, and look ahead to what you can expect for 2017.

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