Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Novel machines boost ecological agriculture

Modern agriculture demands necessitate the development of state-of-the-art equipment. European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) worked towards this aim by producing novel technology for rapid and accurate sowing.
Novel machines boost ecological agriculture
It is a widespread belief that with the exponential rise of mankind, food production needs to increase substantially over the coming years. Whether we should expand agriculture on new lands or focus on high-yielding varieties, the implementation of ecological practices is thought to sustain land use and improve yield production.

At present, ecological agriculture amounts to 2 % of the targeted 10 % level, and to meet challenges and growing demands the European industry needs to increase its competitiveness in terms of equipment and production cost effectiveness.

The EU ‘Innovative wet-sowing technology in the ecological agricultural and farming community’ (Ecowetsow) project worked to develop a new wet-sowing machine able to inject seed and manure into soil at proper dosage and depth. The ultimate goal was to perform this in one run so as to increase the productivity and cost efficiency of the process.

The developed machine had to meet certain criteria, including achievement of a sowing evenness, a certain depth in the field and also be able to measure the number of seeds. All these had to be performed at a sowing speed of 7 hectare/hour and at a maximum cost of EUR 112 per hectare. Most importantly, all these functions should be monitored continuously from the tractor.

Ecowetsow partners developed efficient algorithms for counting seed flow which could reliably measure up to 4,000 seeds per second. Seed overlap or cluster formation were accounted for by a function that calculated the mean area of each seed.

A seed feeding system was also generated delivering to the mixing unit very accurate amount of seed, with only 2 % deviation from the set-point value. Finally, the consortium developed a user interface to the control system, which allowed the user to control and monitor the different systems.

Commercial exploitation of the Ecowetsow technology is expected to increase Europe’s competitiveness in agriculture-related industry and enhance existing ecological agriculture practice.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top