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AgriEngineering, Volume 1, Issue 4 (December 2019) – 8 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Integration of Soil Electrical Conductivity and Indices Obtained through Satellite Imagery for Differential Management of Pasture Fertilization
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(4), 567-585; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1040041 - 02 Dec 2019
Viewed by 382
Abstract
Dryland pastures in the Alentejo region, located in the south of Portugal, normally occupy soils that have low fertility but, simultaneously, important spatial variability. Rational application of fertilizers requires knowledge of spatial variability of soil characteristics and crop response, which reinforces the interest [...] Read more.
Dryland pastures in the Alentejo region, located in the south of Portugal, normally occupy soils that have low fertility but, simultaneously, important spatial variability. Rational application of fertilizers requires knowledge of spatial variability of soil characteristics and crop response, which reinforces the interest of technologies that facilitates the identification of homogeneous management zones (HMZ). In this work, a pasture field of about 25 ha, integrated in the Montado mixed ecosystem (agro-silvo-pastoral), was monitored. Surveys of apparent soil electrical conductivity (ECa) were carried out in November 2017 and October 2018 with a Veris 2000 XA contact sensor. A total of 24 sampling points (30 × 30 m) were established in tree-free zones to allow readings of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and normalized difference water index (NDWI). Historical time series of these indices were obtained from satellite imagery (Sentinel-2) in winter and spring 2017 and 2018. Three zones with different potential productivity were defined based on the results obtained in terms of spatial variability and temporal stability of the measured parameters. These are the basis for the elaboration of differentiated prescription maps of fertilizers with variable application rate technology, taking into account the variability of soil characteristics and pasture development, contributing to the sustainability of this ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from 10th Iberian Agroengineering Congress)
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Identification of Working Parameters for a Lychee Peeling Machine Combining Rollers and a Pressing Belt
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(4), 550-566; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1040040 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 403
Abstract
This work describes the development, design, and parameter identification of a lychee peeling machine. The working principle of the machine combines two rollers with a pressing belt to separate the peel from the fruits. It was designed and its operational parameters identified on [...] Read more.
This work describes the development, design, and parameter identification of a lychee peeling machine. The working principle of the machine combines two rollers with a pressing belt to separate the peel from the fruits. It was designed and its operational parameters identified on the basis of experimental data on the Thieu lychee, which currently covers about 80% of the plantation area in Vietnam. To this end, the first step was to measure the physical characteristics of the fruits, such as size, shape, and density. Moreover, the coefficient of static friction between lychees and rubber rollers, and the critical peeling force, were identified, with a view to optimizing the operational parameters later on. Results showed that a minimum tangential force of 10.5 N is needed to break the peel and separate it from the pulp. Based on the balanced force principle, various optimal machine parameters such as roller rotation speed, roller diameter, roller length, gap size between the two rollers, belt velocity, and minimum pressure of the belt were calibrated. In addition, spiral grooves were created on the roller surface to facilitate the motion of the fruits. The optimal results were roller size 900 × 100 mm (length × diameter), rotation speed 159 RPM, gap size between rollers 4 mm, belt size 850 × 60 mm (length × width), belt pressure 13.5 N, and belt velocity 140 mm/s. Using the design and operational parameters mentioned above, the machine was able to perform regularly at a throughput of 100 kg/h, as demanded by the current market. Moreover, it would be easily feasible to combine multiple pairs of rollers and pressing belts in order to increase throughput. The methodology for the design of this peeling machine and identification of working parameters with respect to experimental data could be applied in many other post-harvesting configurations. Full article
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Open AccessTechnical Note
Thermal Performance of Double-Sided Metal Core PCBs
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(4), 539-549; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1040039 - 13 Nov 2019
Viewed by 396
Abstract
Thermal management in printed circuit boards is becoming increasingly more important as the use of LEDs is now widespread across all industries. Due to availability of the preferred electronic LED current drivers and system constraints for a machine-vision application, the design dictated the [...] Read more.
Thermal management in printed circuit boards is becoming increasingly more important as the use of LEDs is now widespread across all industries. Due to availability of the preferred electronic LED current drivers and system constraints for a machine-vision application, the design dictated the need for a double-sided metal core printed circuit board (MCPCB). However, design information for this relatively new MCPCB offering is sparse to non-existent. To fill-in this missing information in the literature, experiments were conducted where LEDs were arranged on a double-sided metal core printed circuit board (MCPCB), and their impact on the board temperature distribution was tested in a static fan-less configuration where the first condition was at room temperature, 23 °C, and the second configuration was for a heated environment, 40 °C. Two MCPCB orientations were tested (vertical and horizontal). Additionally, several LED arrangements on the MCPCB were configured, and temperatures were measured using a thermocouple as well as with a deep-infrared thermal imaging camera. Maximum temperatures were found to be 65.3 °C for the room temperature tests and 96.4 °C for the heated tests with high temperatures found in near proximity to the heat sources (LEDs), indicating less than ideal heat-conduction/dissipation by the MCPCB. The results indicate that the double-sided MCPCB topology is not efficient for high thermally loaded systems, especially when the target is a fan-less system. The results of testing indicate that for fan-less systems requiring high-performance heat-transfer, these new MCPCB are not a suitable design alternative, and instead, designers should stick with the more traditional single-sided metal-back PCB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotics and Automation Engineering in Agriculture)
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Open AccessTechnical Note
Electronic Design of a Cotton Harvester Yield Monitor Calibration System
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(4), 523-538; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1040038 - 22 Oct 2019
Viewed by 470
Abstract
Several yield monitors are available for use on cotton harvesters, but none are able to maintain yield measurement accuracy across cultivars and field conditions that vary spatially and/or temporally. Thus, the utility of yield monitors as tools for on-farm research is limited unless [...] Read more.
Several yield monitors are available for use on cotton harvesters, but none are able to maintain yield measurement accuracy across cultivars and field conditions that vary spatially and/or temporally. Thus, the utility of yield monitors as tools for on-farm research is limited unless steps are taken to calibrate the systems as cultivars and conditions change. This technical note details the electronic system design for a harvester-based yield monitor calibration system for basket-type cotton strippers. The system was based upon the use of pressure sensors to measure the weight of the basket by monitoring the static pressure in the hydraulic lift cylinder circuit. To ensure accurate weighing, the system automatically lifted the basket to a target lift height, allowed the basket time to settle, then weighed the contents of the basket. The software running the system was split into two parts that were run on an embedded low-level micro-controller and a mobile computer located in the harvester cab. The system was field tested under commercial conditions and found to measure basket load weights within 2.5% of the reference scale. As such, the system was proven to be capable of providing an on-board auto-correction to a yield monitor for use in multi-variety field trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotics and Automation Engineering in Agriculture)
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Open AccessTechnical Note
Man-Machine-Interface Software Design of a Cotton Harvester Yield Monitor Calibration System
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(4), 511-522; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1040037 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 519
Abstract
Several yield monitors are available for use on cotton harvesters, but none are able to maintain yield measurement accuracy across cultivars and field conditions that vary spatially and/or temporally. Thus, the utility of yield monitors as tools for on-farm research is limited unless [...] Read more.
Several yield monitors are available for use on cotton harvesters, but none are able to maintain yield measurement accuracy across cultivars and field conditions that vary spatially and/or temporally. Thus, the utility of yield monitors as tools for on-farm research is limited unless steps are taken to calibrate the systems as cultivars and conditions change. This technical note details the man-machine-interface software system design portion of a harvester-based yield monitor calibration system for basket-type cotton strippers. The system was based upon the use of pressure sensors to measure the weight of the basket by monitoring the static pressure in the hydraulic lift cylinder circuit. To ensure accurate weighing, the system automatically lifted the basket to a target lift height, allowed basket time to settle, then weighed the contents of the basket. The software running the system was split into two parts that were run on an embedded low-level micro-controller, and a mobile computer located in the harvester cab. The system was field tested under commercial conditions and found to measure basket load weights within 2.5% of the reference scale. As such, the system was proven to be capable of providing an on-board auto-correction to a yield monitor for use in multi-variety field trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotics and Automation Engineering in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Ultrasound-Enhanced Hot Air Drying of Germinated Highland Barley Seeds: Drying Characteristics, Microstructure, and Bioactive Profile
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(4), 496-510; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1040036 - 14 Oct 2019
Viewed by 488
Abstract
The effects of ultrasound-enhanced hot air drying on the drying characteristics, microstructure and bioactive profile of germinated highland barley seeds (GHB) were studied. GHB was dried by hot air at 55 °C and 70 °C and ultrasonic intensities of 125.1 W/dm2 and [...] Read more.
The effects of ultrasound-enhanced hot air drying on the drying characteristics, microstructure and bioactive profile of germinated highland barley seeds (GHB) were studied. GHB was dried by hot air at 55 °C and 70 °C and ultrasonic intensities of 125.1 W/dm2 and 180.2 W/dm2, respectively. The results showed that when the drying temperature was 55 °C or 70 °C, the sonicated groups could shorten the drying time by 17.4–26.1% or 18.8–31.3%, respectively. Ultrasound drying at 125.1 W/dm2 and 55 °C could mostly increase the content of organic selenium and the rehydration rate, improve the color and maintain the original structure of GHB. Compared with hot air drying alone, the phenolic content did not increase due to ultrasound-enhanced hot air drying. Therefore, drying at an ultrasonic intensity of 125.1 W/dm2 and a temperature of 55 °C could effectively shorten the drying time, and enhance the quality of GHB. Full article
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Open AccessTechnical Note
Embedded Micro-Controller Software Design of a Cotton Harvester Yield Monitor Calibration System
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(4), 485-495; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1040035 - 10 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 462
Abstract
Several yield monitors are available for use on cotton harvesters, but none are able to maintain yield measurement accuracy across cultivars and field conditions that vary spatially and/or temporally. Thus, the utility of yield monitors as tools for on-farm research is limited unless [...] Read more.
Several yield monitors are available for use on cotton harvesters, but none are able to maintain yield measurement accuracy across cultivars and field conditions that vary spatially and/or temporally. Thus, the utility of yield monitors as tools for on-farm research is limited unless steps are taken to calibrate the systems as cultivars and conditions change. This technical note details the embedded micro-controller software system design portion of a harvester-based yield monitor calibration system for basket-type cotton strippers. The system was based upon the use of pressure sensors to measure the weight of the basket by monitoring the static pressure in the hydraulic lift cylinder circuit. To ensure accurate weighing, the system automatically lifted the basket to a target lift height, allowed the basket time to settle, and then weighed the contents of the basket. The software running the system was split into two parts, which were run on an embedded low-level micro-controller and a mobile computer located in the harvester cab. The system was field tested under commercial conditions and found to measure basket load weights within 2.5% of the reference scale. As such, the system was proven to be capable of providing an on-board auto-correction to a yield monitor for use in multi-variety field trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotics and Automation Engineering in Agriculture)
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Open AccessCommunication
Development of a Novel Enzymatic Pretreatment for Improving the Digestibility of Protein in Feather Meal
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(4), 475-484; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1040034 - 07 Oct 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 732
Abstract
This study describes the process of developing an enzymatic pretreatment to improve the nutritional value of feather meal (FeM). In a first experiment, a full factorial design was used to examine the effects of various incubation conditions on the solubilization of nitrogen in [...] Read more.
This study describes the process of developing an enzymatic pretreatment to improve the nutritional value of feather meal (FeM). In a first experiment, a full factorial design was used to examine the effects of various incubation conditions on the solubilization of nitrogen in FeM. We incubated FeM for 3 h with various levels of a commercial alkaline serine protease (Savinase® 16L), sodium sulphite (Na2SO3), and digestion buffer. A Savinase® 16L level of 3% (%FeM v/w), Na2SO3 level of 3% (%FeM w/w), and digestion buffer level of 500% (%FeM w/w) were identified as the optimal conditions. Under these optimal conditions, 45% of the nitrogen in FeM was solubilized. In a second experiment, we evaluated the effect of more economically sustainable incubation conditions on the in vitro digestibility of protein (pepsin-HCl digestibility and multistep protein evaluation) in FeM. Two FeMs were incubated with 0.5% Savinase® 16L (%FeM v/w), 2% Na2SO3 (%FeM w/w), and 200% buffer (%FeM w/w) for 24 h. The pretreatment improved pepsin-HCl digestibility by 7–16% and the total tract degradable protein content by 14–50%. Accordingly, this novel pretreatment could be applied in the animal feed industry to improve the nutritional value of FeM. Full article
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