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Facoltà di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Università degli Studi di Milano
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Mechanization of agricultural processes 2: Planning and management of mechanized processes
Code: G5803D
Teacher:  Aldo Calcante
Year: 
Term: 
CFU: 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 3
Practices in classroom: 1
Basic aims:  To know the basic technologies underlying the mechanized agricultural processes. To analyze and quantify the main parameters of agricultural processes at farm scale.
To provide the basic methodology and the interpretation key for the application of the advanced information technogies in the production contexts of the agri-environmental enterprises; this even underlying the related interactions with the farm machinery set.
Acquired skills:  To identify and describe the principles behind the technologies used in mechanized agricultural processes. To assess, analyze and quantify the characteristic parameters of plants and machinery for the agricultural processes in function of specific needs. To set and solve simple numerical logistics problems at farm scale.
To evaluate technical performances of the different components of an information system to be used within an agricultural context. Practical skillness in the integrated use of GIS and GPS technologies for farm management purposes. Acquisition of a information-oriented competence to design and manage an information system.
Course contents:  Enterprise information systems in the agri-environmental sector: designing and application. Perspective of ITs in the contexts of agri-environmental enterprises between precision agriculture and information management. Traceability; production reporting and documentation; automations of field operational controls; site-specific farm management throughout GPS technologies. Farm monitoring activities supported by remote sensing, sensors and identification systems, GIS. Tractors as information carriers (computerized field notebooks and automation of field processes).
Program:  FARM INFORMATION SYSTEMS. Information Technologies for firm management and computer business. Role of information in production processes: definitions of “datum” and “information”, with related differences. Information Systems (IS) and related designing approaches: datum-oriented and information-oriented. IS components: electronic devices, computer and software, communication and data transfer systems. Hierarchic organization and enterprise decisional levels: strategic, tactical and processes management, knowledge management, operational levels. Structured, semi-structured and unstructured information profiles. IS classification based upon decisional levels and firm functional areas. Main features of IS designed for farm and agri-environmental enterprises. General role of machinery and mechanisation in farm information systems (FIS). ENTERPRISE DATA MANAGEMENT. Data organization by means traditional file approaches and throughout database technologies (DB) Examples of software for the Farm Management.. ADVANCED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES. Perspective of ITs in the contexts of agri-environmental enterprises between precision agriculture and information management. New emerging needs: traceability; production reporting and documentation; automations of field operational controls; site-specific farm management. Necessity of automating monitoring activities and their classification within the farm: environmental, crop and operational monitoring. Introduction to GPS: space, control and user segments; GPS receivers; positioning data computing methods (phase and pseudo-range measures; accuracy and precision; types of measuring errors); DGPS technologies; receivers’ costs and selection criteria; agri-environmental applications. Outline on GIS tools: cartographic systems and geo-reference problems; layers and backgrounds; entities and related attributes; conections to DBs; digitalization of lands and farm structures; integration of GPS points and traces. Electronic technologies and remote sensing (RS): sensors for implements; variable rate technologies (VRT) devices; active and passive identification systems; yield mapping; an ouline of RS and its possible applications to on-farm and off-farm contexts; role of ground sensing; spectral indices calculation and their application to crop monitoring. Operational monitoring: the role of farm machinery, mobile and stationary user points; tractors as information vectors; Computerized Fileld Notebooks (CFN): features and functionalities; basic construction architectures (tractor- and implement-oriented); algorithms to inference operational farm data, from the elementary activity to the farm historical memory. Principles of land operational monitoring: experiences achieved on a slurry spreading monitoring system based on a IS (equipped with CFNs) managed by the public administration.
Prerequisites:  Aptitude to computations and acceptable knowledge of basic computer science. Aptitude to simplify real world production systems throughout abstract models, in order to provide an ease qualitative and quantitatvie analysis of complex management problems.
Preparatory instructions:  Agricultural Mechanization and Agricultural Mechanics Courses
Learning materials:  Slides and notes of the lessons available at www.ariel.unimi.it web site
Other info:  The examination consists of a written part and an oral part
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