On the 16th and 17th of June the NIVA hackathon brought NIVA partners together to work on a key goal: How do we open environmental data to farmers to make more informed land management decisions? Participants from Italy, France, the Netherlands and Ireland met in a Dutch farm and worked for 24h on four hackathon challenges.

The first challenge was to develop an interactive KPI dashboard that allows farmers to see their environmental performance on a set of indicators (such as biodiversity, carbon and nitrogen). Such a tool would allow farmers to track their environmental performance, set goals and benchmark with other farmers. This challenge links with Use Case 1b (UC1b), which developed a set of KPIs to measure environmental performance.

The second challenge centered on payments for capturing CO2 in the soil. Calculating carbon sequestration in the soil is quite complex, as it depends on many factors such as weather, crop choices, the way the land is tilled, etc. The ask was to identify carbon models and data which can produce the most accurate estimate of carbon reserve in a plot over different points in time. This challenge links with Use Case 1b (UC1b), as it developed algorithms to calculate carbon content at farm level.

The third challenge focused on developing a product that allows to better distinguish different types of land covers. The main ask was to use AI algorithms to train satellite image interpretation through geo-tagged photos. This challenge links with Use Case 4a (UC4a) which developed a product that allows to capture and share geo-tagged photos.

The fourth challenge was on strip cropping, a sustainable land management practice which is likely to have a positive impact on biodiversity and crop resilience. Despite this potential, strip-cropping is not detectable on satellite images, hence it’s challenging for farmers which adopted this practice to get related payments. The ask was to develop a product that allows to detect strip-cropping by using machine data, satellite images and aerial photos. This challenge links with Use Case 4b (UC4b) which collected machinery data.

To tackle these challenges five interdisciplinary teams of coders, software developers and innovative thinkers developed prototypes of different cutting-edge products. These products linked with existing NIVA Use Cases, to build upon the NIVA work and better open environmental data to farmers through innovative digital solutions in agriculture. The winner of the hackathon was linked with the KPI dashboard challenge. The team developed a product which provides farmers an overview on their current farm carbon emissions, set their targets to improve carbon storage and identify the land management actions in their field that are the most responsible for carbon emission. This product can be further developed to allow farmers comparing their carbon performance with other farmers and learn from each other.