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Final Report Summary - ECOWETSOW (Innovative wet-sowing technology in the ecological agricultural and farming community)

The ultimate aim of the ECOWETSOW project was to develop a new wet-sowing machine able to inject seed and manure into soil at proper dosage and depth in the same run in order to increase the productivity and cost efficiency in the ecological agricultural and farming community. Its main objectives were to:
- achieve high evenness of wet-sowing in the field;
- inject seeds to a preset depth with a variance of 1.5 cm maximum;
- have a measurement system able to measure the number of seeds flowing through the dosage system;
- achieve a wet-sowing capacity of 7 hectare/hour;
- have a maximum operation cost of EUR 112 per hectare;
- secure normal sowing of stripes by securing an outlet level from each opening hose of at least 80 % of nominal amount through continuous monitoring.

The novel sowing machine should handle all type of seed combinations and its operation width should be either 3 m or 6 m. Furthermore, the manure would be supplied either through a drag hose system or from a tank and all functions should be monitored continuously from the tractor.

Efficient algorithms for counting seed flow were developed and tests showed that these algorithms were reliable and could be implemented with seed flow speed of up to 4 000 seeds per second. In cases in which seeds overlap or form clusters, a function that allows the algorithm to count individual seeds in a cluster by providing a range area of each seed was developed. This worked well especially for small seed clusters. Furthermore, a seed feeding system was developed delivering to the mixing unit very accurate amount of seed, less than 2 % deviation from the set-point value. The development and design of the mixing unit proved to be very effective and safe.

Finally, the consortium developed a user interface to the control system, which allowed the user to control and monitor the different sub-systems and a control system.

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