Agricultural mechanics and mechanization for the environment safeguard

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide an appropriate knowledge of agricultural machinery, for what concerns tractors, implements and self-propelled machines, going deep on the coupling optimization and sustainability of their use.
In detail, the main goal is to acquire a good general knowledge of the manufacturing characteristics and of the running of tractors and implements (included the self-propelled machines), with reference to the main productive chains of the national context.
A detailed focus will be paid to the study and evaluation of the environmental impacts of machinery, as well as to the operator's safety and well-being.
Expected learning outcomes
The student acquires theoretical and practical knowledge (thanks to exercises and technical visits), allowing him to define the most efficient farm machines set, also taking into account their efficiency, the environmental impact and the health of the operators involved.
In detail, the student will be able to recognize tractors and implements (carried, towed and self-propelled), their most efficient running and use, sizing them in view of the most suitable working combinations, in relation to the parameters considered time to time.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
The teaching methods in the emergency phase will be subject to change with respect to those normally adopted, strictly depending on the evolution of the health emergency and the consequent indications of the Government. If necessary, detailed information will be provided on the teaching notice board.
Course syllabus
1. Introduction (0.25 ECTS). Elements for the technical-economical selection of the machinery in cereals and forage chains, in Italy and in the other Countries where the cereals and forage productions are popular.
2. Recall of the main basic elements of agricultural mechanics (0.5 ECTS): Kinematics: linear and rotational speed, radial and tangential acceleration. Dynamics: forces (friction, tension, centrifugal force), work, torque, power. Efficiency concept. Transmission components: gears, belts and pulleys, clutches.
3. The tractor (1 ECTS). Otto and Diesel cycle engines, with particular focus on the devices for the reduction of the polluting gases. Cooling and lubrication. Combustion air filtering. Diesel engine bench tests, performance curves, with particular focus to the best engine management, to reduce the fuel consumption and the polluting emissions. Powertrains: mechanical, power-shift, CVT, and their efficiency. Tyres and steel and rubber tracks, with particular focus on the soil compaction reduction, to minimize the impact on the cereals and forage productions. Traction and rolling resistance coefficients.
4. Tractor-implement coupling (1 ECTS): the PTO and its technical characteristics; hitch hook and its homologation standards; hydraulic lift and its technical characteristics; tractor hydraulic intakes. Tractor global efficiency (rolling resistance, transmission, PTO, hydraulic system and wheelslip). (1 ECTS)
5. Soil tillage machinery, with particular focus on implements for a low impact. Alternatives to the ploughing: soil cultivators, minimum tillage, zero tillage. (0.5 ECTS)
6. Precision and universal seeding machinery, with particular focus on a sustainable task execution: electronics applications for the best seeding and quality; VRT seeding. (0.25 ECTS)
7. Organic and mineral fertilization machinery, with particular focus on the devices and the techniques for the best spreading quality and the reduction of the off-target fertilizer. (0.25 ECTS)
8. Pesticide spraying machinery, with particular focus on the devices and the techniques for the distribution uniformity and the drift and percolation reduction. (0.5 ECTS)
9. Cereals and forage harvesting machinery, with particular focus on the losses reduction during crop management, harvesting, baling and storage. (0.5 ECTS)
10. Safety and ergonomics in cereals and forage chains operations: field tractors and stability problems (characteristics, standards, tests). Universal joint and PTO shaft. (0.25 ECTS)
11. Technical-didactical visits in tractors and machinery factories, in Research institutions and in cereal and forage farms, including the execution of tests on machinery, with data acquisition and relevant elaboration in the classroom. (1 ECTS)
Prerequisites for admission
A basic knowledge of the most common agricultural self-propelled machinery and implements used in open field crop cultivation is required, as well as a good theoretical and practical acquisition of the most frequently adopted cultivation techniques adopted for the open field crops.
Teaching methods
- Classroom lessons: 4 CFU
- Classroom practise: 1 CFU
- Field practise: 1 CFU
Teaching Resources
- G. Pellizzi (1996) - Mechanics and agricultural mechanization - Edagricole, Bologna;
- P. Biondi (1999) - Agricultural Mechanics - UTET, Turin;
Official lecture notes and other material useful for exam preparation, available on the websites:
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of a written and a subsequent oral parts, both to be carried out in each single session. Access to the oral part is only possible with an assessment that is not clearly negative (at least 15/30) in the written one.
The written test, to be carried out in 1.5 hours, consists of 4 exercises:
- the first two require the dimensioning of a tractor and/or an implement, in the execution of specific cultivation tasks, starting from the provided data;
- the next two consist of the description of broad topics concerning the program.
The oral exam consists of the preliminary discussion of the written test and in the possible coming through of one or more topics related to the entire program.
For the attending students, an on-going test is foreseen (proposed at about half course), consisting of 26 closed-end questions and a description of a broad topic, included in those already presented during the course. The students who obtain a positive evaluation in the on-going test may carry out a shortened written test in the subsequent exam, consisting of the solution of just one of the dimensioning test and just one of the description of the broad topics..
Field activity: 24 hours
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 28 hours
Professor: Pessina Domenico
by appointment only (preferably defined via e-mail)
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali - via Celoria, 2 - 20133 Milano