For the beginning of 2024, and within the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy, the European Commission is asking Member States to provide farmers with a digital tool that provides advice on nutrient management (FaST: Farm Sustainability Tool). The Walloon prototype for the FaST app is now deployed and supported by the FPS. It allows users to retrieve data about their parcel of land, after authentication and consent, which is encoded via Pac-on-Web. As a result, the user can benefit from a tool that helps with decision-making around nitrogen fertilisation for their parcels of land (CRA-W - REQUASUD), the display of weather data (CRA-W) and the display of images from satellite data (UCLouvain). They also have the option to transfer their parcels of land to a third-party platform that offers additional services (only BELCAM at present).
The CRA-W is responsible for IT research and development for concrete solutions to feed and improve this FaST app. It is within this context that the REQUAFERTI tool, which has been developed by REQUASUD, was suggested as a tool to help with decisions around fertilisation. The CRA-W is helping with the development of this tool and is working to connect it to the FaST app (via API, or Application Programming Interface). Therefore, REQUAFERTI’s field-crop nitrogen module has been updated with the most recent reference data, and the interface developed in the FaST application has been designed to make the tool as simple, comprehensive and easy-to-understand as possible for users. The CRA-W has also contributed to adding a specific nitrogen module for meadows. The methodology used is based on the ‘Fertiprairie’ tool offered on the PROTECT’eau website, and on feedback from experts in this field (Agra-Ost, Fourrages Mieux, PROTECT’eau, Centre de Michamps). The connection of this module to the FaST app is in progress, as is work to update the REQUAFERTI module dedicated to phosphorus.
The CRA-W recently oversaw an initial test of the FaST app by a group of volunteer farmers. Their feedback was very positive, reflecting their genuine interest in a tool like this. These tests also revealed some technical issues, and some suggestions for improvements to the content of the app. The CRA-W is still looking for volunteer farmers to test this kind of tool.
Project subsided by FPS ARNE, FaST agreement