ACE8108 : Innovations in Agriculture Technology and Engineering to Support Sustainable Production

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


Instil an understanding of the main principles underlying the technologies and methodologies being used in Precision Farming (PF) in arable field crops, horticultural field crops, perennial horticultural crops, and the limitations and opportunities associated with different technologies and methodologies
Provide examples of the application and fusion of different PF technologies and methodologies into general on-farm management
Promote critical thinking about how Agri-Tech innovations can improve the sustainability of various agricultural systems

Outline Of Syllabus

General Introduction and Overview

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)
•       Covering different systems, GPS operation segments.
•       GNSS application and benefits in PA, map projections and input applications.
•       Planned system developments

Spatial and Temporal Variability
•       Understanding of Yield variability with respect to Spatial and Temporal variation and its link with different crop and cropping attributes
•       Descriptors used for measuring variability
•       Concepts of annual and long term variation
•       Concept of a range in variability across farms and regions - impact of rotations and potential use of normalisation of data
•       Types of measurement systems/operation, techniques and technology Convolution issues and System calibration techniques.
•       Concept of a range in variability across farms and regions

Soil measurement techniques and Soil Variability
•       Key soil attributes important to yield and influence of Variability in soil properties on crops
•       Concept of a range in variability across farms and regions
•       Measurement options for key soil attributes, range of tools and techniques adopted for measuring soil attributes Soil sampling design, related costs
•       Impact on productivity
Remote Sensing for Crops and Soil
•       Understanding of Electromagnetic spectrum in relation to agriculture
•       Different observation platforms, their uses and comparison
•       Types of Sensors or sensing systems available for agriculture and measurement of different indices

Specific examples and opportunities for Agri-Tech
•       Agri-Tech in arable and horticulture cropping systems

Map Making
•Map generation techniques using both low density and high density data
•Different models in map making -, moving mean, inverse distance, global kriging
•Effectiveness of good maps

Site-Specific Crop Management
•       Potential benefits
•       Management options
•       PA applications
•       Crop and soil management
•       Decision support systems through combination of different data layers
•       Continuous management and management options using soil, crop canopy and yield measurement

Crop monitoring and Decision Support Systems (DSS)
•       Understanding of Crop Health systems
•       Introduction to DSS for Crop Health
•       Examples of different monitoring and DSS
•       Tools for In-field diagnostics and its application

Benefits of PA
• Economic and environmental benefits.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:3015:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion15:005:00Preparation of oral presentation
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Case study preparation (research, reading, formulation/writing)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical22:305:00Undertaken at Cockle Park
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching22:305:00Student-led seminar presentations/discussions based on oral presentations
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork52:0010:00Undertaken at Cockle Park
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study115:0015:00Independent reading and additional study on-topic
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study101:3015:00Lecture prep and follow-up - reading and compilation of materials
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module has a strong emphasis on understanding the practical as well as the theoretical aspects of sensing and IT systems in a broad range of production systems. Lectures build a theoretical foundation and the practical and fieldwork components emphasise practical aspects, such that students have a working knowledge of the technologies at the end of the module.

Lectures provide background knowledge, fieldwork provides practical exposure to on-farm applications of technology and sensors. The practicals have an emphasis on learning how to analyse precision farming data structures.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation202M20Topics allocated. Marked on response to questions as well as presentation. Peer reviewed.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M80Based on knowledge gained and combining theory with practical aspects mainly on decision support systems (max. 6 pages excl refs)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module introduces new technologies used in agriculture production and agri-diagnostics. The assessments test the ability of students to research, present and discuss relevant and up-to-date information within this domain (oral examination) and to integrate, synthesise, analyse, interpret and generate agronomic and agri-diagnostic decisions based on information from agri-tech sources (case study). The case study promotes critical thinking and a deeper understanding of the underlying agronomy and agri-diagnostics.

Reading Lists