The Walloon Agricultural Research Centre (CRA-W) is a Public Interest Organization which brings together scientific research, service and support functions to Walloon farmers, stockbreeders, horticulturists, forestry producers and operators in the agri-food sector.
The main research activities of CRA-W are focused on precision farming, risk management, quality production and precision livestock farming to produce more sustainably. It is composed of 440 employees involved in 130 scientific research projects.
The global positioning technology has been tested and used by CRA-W researchers after the commissioning of GPS for civil applications.
For research on precision farming (e.g. precision seeding, weeding robots, variable rate applications of fertilizers), they need centimeter-level precision receivers and use RTK measurements on different agricultural machines as explained by Quentin Limbourg, researcher in Crop Production Unit of CRA-W.
On the other hand, they use EGNOS “to locate research plots installed inside of agricultural fields in order to find their position more accurately on satellite imagery” as explained by Cozmin LUCAU DANILA, PhD in Geomatics from Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) and formerly responsible for validation of GNSS receivers and aerial/spatial imagery for area measurement for CAP at EU level. In their activities, the identification on the field of specific spots observed on different satellite/aerial images to be validated by ground observations become easier and more accurate. The crop diseases in part of agricultural parcel or even diseased trees in forests are the most common examples.
Additionally, Cozmin explains that EGNOS supports them “in projects to prepare the operational implementation of the next CAP reform, providing enough accuracy in areas without internet connection”. It allows them to reach isolated areas and take measures thanks to EGNOS. Another advantage that he mentions is that “the integrity and availability of the service and the easy configuration and use of EGNOS in our Trimble Geo 7X are really helping us in our work”.