152 research outputs found

    Research activities in the first two cycles of European Biosystems engineering university studies - Situation in the Netherlands

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    Wageningen University has implemented the bachelor – master model by 2003. The biosystems related programmes of Wageningen University are the BSc Agrotechnology and the MSc Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering. The bachelor programme has a size of 180 credits and the master programme a size of 120 credits. Both 1st and 2nd cycle programmes have a strong focus on research. A thesis is part of both programmes; the size is 12 credits for the bachelor thesis (to be increased to 24 by 2010) and 36 for the master thesis. An important difference between the bachelor and the master thesis is the level of independence. The bachelor thesis work is more structured than the master thesis work. Most of the thesis work is related to ongoing research projects. In the bachelor programme there are several courses that confront students with research and in which they learn research and academic skills. In this way the students gradually learn what research is and how to do it. In the master programme there are only a few courses related to the research skills; the students that start with the master are supposed to posses these skills. The BSc degree is not considered as an end point but is a pivot point for choosing a master. Therefore there are no research positions for persons having only BSc degree. Research positions in industry require at least a MSc degree but the trend is that more and more a PhD is required. Senior research positions within the research organizations require in most cased a PhD and within the university it is a basic requirement

    Enhancing the attractiveness of european study programmes in biosystems engineering - the Netherlands

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    Wageningen University and all study programmes are very internationally oriented. First, most of the master programmes have a mandatory internship of 24 credits and the students are stimulated to go abroad. Second, the new structure of the programmes by September 2010 make it for especially the bachelor students more easy to go a certain period abroad to follow courses at an other university. Third, all master programmes are fully taught in the English language, making it possible for foreign students to come to Wageningen University for a master programme. Much effort is put in promoting Wageningen University. The websites play a very important role in informing prospective students on the possibilities offered by Wageningen University. In addition there are paper brochures available with information on all master programmes. Wageningen University is also present on several educational fairs to promote the study programmes

    Testing an Online Spread Pattern Determination Sensor on a Broadcast Fertilizer Spreader

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    An alternative method for fertilizer spread pattern determination was developed based on predicting where individual fertilizer particles land on the ground, in contrast to the traditional method of collecting the particles in bins (ASAE Standard S341.2). A small broadcast granular fertilizer spreader (Lowery 300) was equipped with an optical sensor designed to measure the velocity and diameter of individual fertilizer particles shortly after they leave the impeller disc. The measured velocity and diameter of individual particles were input into a ballistic model that predicted where particles land on the ground. A total of over 1000 landing spots revealed the spread pattern. The results have shown that the optical sensor is capable of automatically determining the spread pattern of a fertilizer spreader on the fly. The sensor could be a key component in the development of uniformity-controlled fertilizer application systems

    Optimal path planning for field operations

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    Adaptive detection of volunteer potato plants in sugar beet fields

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    Volunteer potato is an increasing problem in crop rotations where winter temperatures are often not cold enough to kill tubers leftover from harvest. Poor control, as a result of high labor demands, causes diseases like Phytophthora infestans to spread to neighboring fields. Therefore, automatic detection and removal of volunteer plants is required. In this research, an adaptive Bayesian classification method has been developed for classification of volunteer potato plants within a sugar beet crop. With use of ground truth images, the classification accuracy of the plants was determined. In the non-adaptive scheme, the classification accuracy was 84.6 and 34.9% for the constant and changing natural light conditions, respectively. In the adaptive scheme, the classification accuracy increased to 89.8 and 67.7% for the constant and changing natural light conditions, respectively. Crop row information was successfully used to train the adaptive classifier, without having to choose training data in advanc

    Biodiversiteit in de melkveehouderij – investeren in veerkracht en reduceren van risico’s: Het conceptueel kader getest op Schiermonnikoog: resultaten van een haalbaarheidsstudie

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    Melkveehouders van Schiermonnikoog beseffen dat regelgeving en economische randvoorwaarden op de lange termijn het risico vergroten op problemen bij de huidige landbouwpraktijk. Het risico is niet alleen aanzienlijk voor agrarische ondernemers, maar ook voor natuur en biodiversiteit. De melkveehouders willen daarom graag ontwikkelen naar een duurzame landbouw op het eiland zodat de druk op natuur (bijvoorbeeld ten aanzien van stikstofdepositie) binnen acceptabele grenzen komt en dat biodiversiteit (bijvoorbeeld weidevogels) bevorderd wordt. In de haalbaarheidsstudie die het Louis Bolk Instituut heeft uitgevoerd om de meest kansrijke transities naar een nieuw businessmodel te achterhalen, zijn twee opties naar voren gekomen die zijn: omschakelen naar biologische bedrijfsvoering met of zonder een zuivellijn dan wel extensiveren met een zuivellijn

    Health monitoring of plants by their emitted volatiles: A temporary increase in the concentration of nethyl salicylate after pathogen inoculation of tomato plants at greenhouse scale

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    This paper describes a method to alert growers of the presence of a pathogen infection in their greenhouse based on the detection of pathogen-induced emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from plants. Greenhouse-grown plants were inoculated with spores of a fungus to learn more about this concept. The specific objective of the present study was to determine whether VOCs are detectable after inoculation, and if so, to determine the time course of the concentrations of these compounds. To achieve this objective, we inoculated 60 greenhouse-grown tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum) with an aqueous suspension of Botrytis cinerea spores. Upon inoculation, the greenhouse air was sampled semi-continuously with a one hour time interval until 72 hours after inoculation (HAI). The samples were transferred to the laboratory and analysed using gas chromatography - mass spectrometry. Ten leaves were randomly selected to monitor the visible symptoms of infection. The severity of these visual symptoms was assessed at 0, 24, 48, and 72 HAI. Results demonstrated no detection of C6-compounds, and an almost constant concentration of all monoterpenes, most sesquiterpenes, and (E,E)-4,8,12-trimethyl-1,3,7,11-tridecatetraene. However, the concentration of methyl salicylate increased 10-fold and 3-fold at 32 and 34 HAI respectively. At 24 HAI, 10% of the selected leaves showed mild symptoms while 20% of the selected leaves showed mild symptoms at 48 HAI. These results indicate that methyl salicylate might alert a grower of the presence of a B. cinerea infection of tomato plants at greenhouse scale. Further research is required to confirm these findings

    Physical properties of fertilizer in relation to handling and spreading

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    The influence of physical properties of fertilizer on the handling and spreading is studied. The reviewed properties are particle size and particle size distribution, coefficient of friction, coefficient of restitution, particle strength and aerodynamic resistance. Further a measuring procedure based on the ultrasonic Doppler effect has been developed. The procedure is used for measuring the influence of physical properties and adjustment parameters on the motion of particles. Both a reciprocating spout type and a spinning disc type fertilizer spreader have been analyzed

    A method to detect baseline emission and plant damage induced volatile emission in a greenhouse

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    The objective of this research was to ascertain if 1) baseline emission and 2) damage induced emission of volatile plant substances could be detected under greenhouse conditions. A laboratory method was validated for analysing the air in a semi-closed greenhouse with 44 m2 floor area. This greenhouse, with a volume of 270 m3, was climate controlled and light was supplied with assimilation lamps. Sixty tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill cv. Moneymaker) were grown in this greenhouse. These plants were artificially damaged on a weekly interval by stroking the stems. Continuous flow pumps were used to purge the air surrounding the plants through tubes containing an adsorbent. This sampling step was performed before and directly after damage of the plants. After sampling, the tubes were transferred to the lab for analysis. The analysis of volatile compounds was performed using a high-throughput gas chromatography-mass spectrometry system. The method enabled the detection of baseline level emission and the emission of volatiles released after artificially damaging the tomato plants during a 6 weeks growing period. Most dominant compounds for baseline emission were the monoterpenes ß-phellandrene, 2-carene, limonene, ¿-phellandrene and ¿-pinene. Directly after damage, these compounds showed an increase of up to 100 times compared to baseline level emission. With these results, we prove that it is possible to detect baseline- and plant damage induced volatile emission in a greenhouse. This area of research is promising but more research needs to be done to determine whether it is possible to detect plant damage due to pests and pathogens using volatile sensing
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