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Gantry technology in organic crop production


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Schäfer, Dr. Winfried (2002) Gantry technology in organic crop production. VAGOS, ISSN 1648-116X, 55 (8), pp. 113-118.

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Future agricultural engineering for organic farming embraces three essential areas: support of animal welfare, use of renewable energy, and strengthening sustainable crop production. European organic farmers increasingly use renewable energy sources like wind and biogas. Civil engineers and architects are planning new buildings according to national and international organic animal husbandry regulations. In respect of organic crop production, modern gantry technology offers ideal support of organic farming objectives especially in respect of development and improvement of soil structure. A review of scientific publications concerning gantry research within the past ten years in respect of organic farming principles leads to the following results:
1. Present stage of gantry research results show, that gantry technology saves work, increases profitability, saves energy, improves and preserves soil structure, extends working time periods and improves timeliness of critical operations, offers weather and day light independent field work, precise fertiliser distribution and irrigation, high precision intra-row weed control, field mapping for various objectives, automation of repeating work steps, automated operations by computer vision, and grants better working conditions;
2. Gantry technology supports additionally organic crop production offering plot mapping for habitat specific operations, perennial vegetation covering because of no till, mixed cropping/alley cropping systems using allelopathic effects for weed and pest resistance, well timed and precise distribution of compost and preparates, and mulch based cultivation and fertilisation methods;
3. Gantry technology renders excellent opportunity for transdisciplinary research and co-operation between life scientists and engineers. Measuring and observation of biodiversity indicators, energy balance, soil tilth, nutrient balance, quality of work, and quality of products requires scientists from different disciplines. Dynamic observation methods using computer vision and image processing methods for documentation of plant appearance during all stages of development may support human observation. Gantry technology offers continuous mapping of plot specific soil and flora data. The habitat specific information can be used to plan a crop rotation including mixed cropping or strip cultivation solutions, green mulch fertilisation, and allelopathic effects best suited for a given plot or even for a specific location of a given plot.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Gantry, organic farming, multidisciplinary approach, transdisciplinary research
Subjects: Values, standards and certification > Assessment of impacts and risks
Farming Systems > Buildings and machinery
Crop husbandry
Research affiliation: Finland > Luke Natural Resources Institute
Deposited By: Schäfer, Dr. Winfried Christian
ID Code:582
Deposited On:25 Mar 2003
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:27
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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