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Smart Digital Farming

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Contact Data

Coordinator (Research & Technology organization)

ILVO - Flemish Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Coordinator website

Year Established



Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 115, 9820, Merelbeke (Belgium)


Social Media

Contact information

Peter Rakers
+32 9 272 27 50



We stand for applied agri-smartness

SDF is an initiative of companies (>60% SME's) active in innovative precision farming -and livestock breeding with as main objectives:

1) Deploy economic potential and enhance the competitiveness of Flemish entreprises via active and sustainable collaboration within the AgriFood 4.0 environment.

2) Contribute with solutions to the societal/agricultural challenges with a direct economical added value for Flemish entreprises.

3) Stimulate open innovation, market -and product innovation, and international exposure of the SDF initiative.

We are a cluster of dedicated enterprises

Very soon, our world will not big enough anymore to feed all mouths in a sustainable way. Agri-food needs more than just precision alone ... it needs smartness on top in order to contribute to one of the major challenges of planet Earth in the upcoming decades.

The call to integrate intelligence with precision farming is louder than ever.

Smart Digital Farming gathers expertise in the Flanders region of Belgium in order to answer to that call. We are a group of enterprises dedicated to the cause of applied agri-smartness from farm to fork, striving for digitalisation and data sharing from farmer to consumer.

We are a Digital Innovation Hub within the H2020 DT-RUR-12 project SmartAgriHubs

Together with our host ILVO and the University of Wageningen (NL), we are building a network of digital innovation hubs in Europe in order to connect innovation in agri-food on an interregional scale.

Link to national or regional initiatives for digitising industry

Smart Digital Farming (SDF) is hosted by ILVO, the Flemish Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

SDF is an IBN cluster subsidized for 50% by VLAIO, the Flanders Agency for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. VLAIO is a government agency, charged with implementing the economic, innovation and enterprise policy in Flanders. The other 50% is funded by the member companies with more than 60% SME’s. In parallel, the European Social Fund granted a budget to conduct a SCOPE competence study in precision farming. 

The cluster is also collaborating with Flanders' Food in order to introduce the Industry 4.0 program of digitalisation in the agrifood sector. The Industry 4.0 program is initialized by the Flemish government and coordinated by Mr. Leo Van De Loock (VLAIO). SDF is also an active partner in the S3 Smart Specialization Platform 'High Tech Farming' coordinated by Mr. Fabio Boscaleri of the Ufficio di collegamento con le Istituzioni Comunitarie, Regione Toscana – DG Giunta Regionale (Brussels Office).

Joke Schauvliege, Flemish Minister of Environment, Nature and Farming, has placed the emphasis on data in farming in 2018 (see link press release underneath)

Market and Services

Market sectors

  • Agriculture, hunting and forestry

TRL Focus

  • TRL5 - Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment
  • TRL6 - System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment
  • TRL7 - System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
  • TRL8 - Actual system completed and qualified through test and demonstration
  • TRL9 - Actual system proven through successful mission operations

Services provided

  • Awareness creation
  • Ecosystem building, scouting, brokerage, networking
  • Voice of the customer, product consortia
  • Access to Funding and Investor Readiness Services
  • Education and skills development

Service Examples

Business case coordination 1

Smart Digital Farming coordinates a series of business cases between the members of the cluster. In this case, field data is gathered and correlation for different stakeholders and first line suppliers of farmers in order to shape a 'virtual field' for crop prediction and early warning for crop diseases.

Further details cannot be disclosed as they are business-critical. The cases are ongoing and 3 consortia of SDF members have filed a proposal for subsidy in the VLAIO cluster call (Flanders) during the summer of 2018.

More details:

Flagship Innovation Experiments

Smart Digital Farming coordinates a series of business cases between the members of the cluster. These Flagship Innovation Experiments are part of the WUR-Wageningen approved H2020 DT-RUR-12 project, called SmartAgriHubs. 3 FIE's where SDF members are involved, were approved in 2018.

More details:

Smart Digital Farming as an international partner in smart farming

SDF is a partner in the S3 Smart Specialisation Program High Tech Farming platform ran by Mr. Fabio Boscaleri, policy officer of the Tuscany Brussels Office. 

More details:

Support for international projects in smart farming 1

Smart Digital Farming in collaboration with ILVO are supporting SME's to file for international projects in smart precision farming or PLF. In the ICT-AGRI network (ERA-NET), both companies AVR and De Roeve have an ongoing project (called respectively 'DEPT' and 'iFAROS') which were presented in November 2017 at the ICT-AGRI joined meeting in Copenhagen.

More details:

Support for international projects in smart farming 2

Smart Digital Farming and ILVO will coordinate an 3-year EFRD project as of April 2018:

Approved EFRD project by the Flemish government: project 1237 DataHub for Agrifood, a data platform for dairy cows, feed and health, milk quality, etc. with the collaboration of the main dairy stakeholders in Flanders-Belgium

More details:

Data Protection Officer

Advice on GDPR legislation and data protection for SME's (and all other SDF members) which are involved in a specific business case where sensitive data processing and analytics might be a risk.

Data processing and correlation of specific farm data gives the opportunity for 'profiling' the activities of the farmer. When profiling of farmers results in a different approach of customer services offered, it must be in line with the GDPR guidelines. Smart Digital Farming offers DPO services to research the risk towards GDPR infringement.


Organizational form

Public Private Partnership



Number of employees


Evolutionary Stage

Fully operational

Geographical Scope



  • Regional funding
  • Memberships



Partner Type

Regional government



Partner Type

Research & Technology organization



Partner Type



KUL University Leuven

Partner Type




Partner Type

Research & Technology organization



Partner Type

Research & Technology organization



Partner Type

Networked, cluster organization



Partner Type

Educational institute


Technological competences

  • Robotics and autonomous systems
  • Internet of Things (e.g. connected devices, sensors and actuators networks)
  • Data mining, big data, database management
  • Simulation and modelling
  • Additive manufacturing (3D printing)
Last updated: 03/09/18 14:05