Precision farming

A.Y. 2020/2021
8
Max ECTS
68
Overall hours
SSD
AGR/02 AGR/19
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
Precision agronomy
To know the concepts used to prepare prescription maps in precision agriculture, focusing on fertilisation, soil amendment and weed control. To know how to quantitatively represent the processes occurring in cropping systems, with these objectives: to effectively integrate site-specific information on soil and crop status (e.g. yield maps, crop vigor maps, soil texture maps); to identify limiting factors for crop production; to decide the optimal rates of site-specific production factors to be applied.
Precision livestock farming for animal welfare
The welfare of farmed animals is an essential prerequisite which, in addition to safeguarding the respect of the ethical aspects of production, allows to achieve high efficiency and to keep the animals in good health conditions, minimizing the consumption of resources and the emission of pollutants per unit of product, limiting the use of veterinary medicines and offering better guarantees in terms of food safety of products of animal origin.
Precision animal husbandry offers management tools that allow to monitor the status of the animals, contributing to the improvement of their health and well-being.
The course aims to provide the student with the knowledge bases for the evaluation of the animal welfare, in relation to microclimatic conditions, housing, nutrition and management, through the identification of the main useful indicators, the currently available precision animal husbandry techniques and achievable results.
Expected learning outcomes
Precision agronomy
The student will be able to mathematically represent the main processes occurring in the soil-crop-atmosphere system, to integrate this representation with site-specific soil and crop data, and to use it to decide the application rates of fertilizers and herbicides (prescription maps). The student will also be able to critically evaluate different tools for the preparation of prescription maps.
Precision livestock farming for animal welfare
The student will learn about the basics of farmed animal welfare and the indicators that can be used for its evaluation and monitoring.
The student will be able to critically evaluate the main precision livestock tools for the evaluation of animal welfare. He will learn to integrate information also by developing simple predictive models for decision support.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
year
Educational Unit 2
In the emergency phase, some details of the course and the exam will change. In particular:
Program - The course program will remain unchanged
Teaching methods - During the semester, weeks of face-to-face lessons will alternate with weeks of remote lessons in sync on Teams. Face-to-face lessons will be always available in sync on Teams for students not present in the class. All lessons will be recorded and made available to students asynchronously on the Ariel course site. Participation in face-to-face lessons must be booked via the specific app. Depending on pandemic conditions, field exercises are planned at some livestock farms. All information, notices, as well as teaching materials and recordings will be available on the Ariel course website.
Reference material - The reference material will remain unchanged and will be available on the Ariel website of the course
Learning assessment methods and assessment criteria - In the case of the continuation of the emergency phase, the exam will take place at the end of the course orally on the Microsoft Teams platform. Evaluation criteria: theoretical and applicative knowledge of the subject; ability to correctly frame the issue and discuss it with adequate links; logic and sequentiality in the introduction of concepts; properties of the technical-scientific language adopted.
Course syllabus
E.U. 1:
· Introduction to the analysis of dynamic systems based on state and rate variables; relationships (eg dose-response curves) to describe the effects of increasing doses of productive factors; limiting factors; interactions between factors
· Conceptual framework for the formulation of prescription maps: necessary inputs and expected outputs
· Sowing and site-specific processing; application examples; agronomic and environmental considerations
· Site-specific fertilization: introduction; the most widely used algorithms for the definition of the fertilization prescription map; algorithms based on simulation models; application examples; agronomic and environmental considerations
· Site-specific weed control: introduction; methodology for the realization of the weeding prescription map; application examples; agronomic and environmental considerations
E.U. 2
Definitions of animal welfare, stress and homeostasis
Notes on the process of domestication and human-animal interaction
Basics of social, spatial, reproductive and maternal behavior of livestock
Livestock systems: critical points for animal welfare and legislation
Animal welfare: productive and reproductive performance, implications for environment and food safety
Monitoring of behavior and animal welfare
Precision Livestock Farming applications for monitoring animal behavior and welfare
Modelling animal production, behaviour and welfare
Assessment of animal welfare at the farm, during transport and at the slaughterhouse
Educational visits to farms for the assessment of behavior and welfare
Prerequisites for admission
E.U 1:
Agronomy
Cropping systems
Geomatics for agriculture
Statistics

E.U. 2 - Knowledge of the husbandry techniques of the main livestock species
Teaching methods
E.U. 1:
Conventional lessons with student involvement, exercises.
E.U. 2:
Traditional lessons with student involvement; educational visits at livestock farms to verify in the field the information and the knowledge gained in classroom.
Teaching Resources
E.U. 1 - Available on the ARIEL website: lecture slides, scientific articles and other material needed for the exercises
Recommended books
- Casa, R., 2016. Agricoltura di precisione, Collana Edagricole Università e Formazione. Edagricole-New Business Media, Milano, Italy.
- Heege, H.J. (Ed.), 2013. Precision in Crop Farming. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht. doi: 10.1007 / 978-94-007-6760-7

E.U. 2 - Notes from the lessons and scientific papers available online on the Ariel web site
Assessment methods and Criteria
E.U. 1
Oral exam: the evaluation criteria are based on theoretical and applicative knowledge of the subject; ability to correctly frame the topics and discuss them with adequate connections; logic in the introduction of concepts; properties of technical and scientific language.
The grade is out of thirty.
E.U. 2
The exam consists of a short report on a topic, agreed with the teacher, which will include an exercise in processing and / or discussion of data relating to aspects of animal welfare and in an oral test. The evaluation criteria are based on theoretical and applicative knowledge of the subject; ability to correctly frame the issue and discuss it with adequate links; logic and sequentiality in the introduction of concepts; properties of technical and scientific language.
The mark is expressed in thirtieths
Agronomia di precisione
AGR/02 - AGRONOMY AND FIELD CROPS - University credits: 0
AGR/19 - ANIMAL SCIENCE - University credits: 0
Computer room practicals: 8 hours
Lessons: 28 hours
Professor: Ragaglini Giorgio
Controllo del benessere animale
AGR/02 - AGRONOMY AND FIELD CROPS - University credits: 0
AGR/19 - ANIMAL SCIENCE - University credits: 0
Lessons: 32 hours
Professor(s)
Reception:
by appointment
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Via Celoria 2