Qualitative analysis of the infield logistics of agricultural machinery in Germany

Michael Mederle, Michael Gerl, Heinz Bernhardt

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Optimizing farm management practices is a critical factor in the economics of farms. In the field of infield logistics, in recent years many model systems have been developed to optimize these. However, these are hardly accepted by the farms, because important factors are not taken into account. The aim of the investigation was to find out why German farmers work their fields in the infield logistics exactly as they do. The study tries to analyse the factors influencing the infield logistics and the goals the farmers have set themselves. The study was conducted as a guided interview with more than 100 farms in Germany. As expected, the evaluation of the survey did not provide satisfactory results in a quantitative analysis. The reason for this is the large number of influencing factors that would have required an unmanageable number of interviews. A qualitative analysis, however, produced a comprehensive catalogue of influences and goals. Shape, relief, organic fertilization, accessibility, harvester bunker volume, crop type, irrigation options, soil properties, management measures, field obstacles and harvest conditions were identified as categories for the impacts. The analysed objectives are: as long as possible tracks, as straight as possible tracks, no erosion, no risk of tipping the machines, efficient irrigation management, efficient sowing, efficient crop protection, efficient organic fertilization, efficient harvesting, levelling of bumps, straw distribution, processing beds, trips between the individual beds in a field, small headland, large headland and soil conservation. The ranking of the total of 42 influences achieved no relevant result in the study, since the basic requirements of the ranking require a company-specific adaptation of the matrices and a weighted assessment of the influences by the farmer. The analysis of the influences and goals showed that some of them are especially German or European, as they can be traced back to special laws or requirements of society. However, most are to be transferred to all agricultural areas, as they are defined by the mode of production. Similar extensive studies in the US, Asia or Australia would therefore be interesting to confirm the results of initial interviews in these regions. The found influences and goals in the infield logistics are to be integrated in a next step in logistics models. There they can be individually weighted for the farm and also individual fields.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2019
Event2019 ASABE Annual International Meeting - Boston, United States
Duration: 7 Jul 201910 Jul 2019


Conference2019 ASABE Annual International Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Field management
  • Field structure
  • Infield logistic


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