Four consortia start their research within programme Smart solutions for horti- and agriculture

27 November 2019

The NWO Domain Science Board has approved four proposals in the programme Smart solutions for horti- and agriculture. The funded projects will research how AI can contribute to the health of young animals, a 3D passport for agriculture, the effect of light on pigs and how fruit crop losses due to frost can be minimized. Each project consists of a consortium of knowledge institutes and private partners. This programme is aimed at research that provides new, smart solutions that lead to sustainable and circular agricultural systems, while, at the same time, securing a healthy livelihood for farmers and agriculture-related companies.

The Youngsters - Artificial Intelligence at the edge to support young animals for a sustainable smart farming
Prof. P.J.M. Havinga, University of Twente
The first days in the life of young animals are seen as critical. Extra attention from the farmer is required: are the animals keeping warm, do they get enough colostrum and are they active enough to survive? In this project the integration of smart sensors that measure activity, temperature, weight and heartrate is looked at in order to get the required insight into the condition and risk factors of the animal with the use of artificial intelligence. Detailed information will be collected with sensors on the body as well as external sensors. These data will be analyzed in order to alert and advise the carer.

Universal Three-dimensiOnal Passport for process Individualization in Agriculture (UTOPIA)
Prof. K.J. Batenburg, Leiden University
Agri- and horticultural products have a rich internal structure that contains crucial information for the processing of the products, to detect health riscs early on, minimize waste and predict the shelf life. In this project the researcers develop a methodology to make a 3D model with the use of CT-scanning and machine learning, while processing large amounts of products. The data will be combined into an individual 3D passport for each product and used to make optimal decisions.

Enlighted pigs: integrating light with animal-friendly and sustainable farming
Dr E.A.M. Bokkers, Wageningen University & Research
In animal husbandry light has a large influence on behaviour, health, growth and therefore welfare of te animals. Yet there is little for light in stables. In this project we want to colelct basic knowledge on the effect of light intensity and spectrum on the behaviour, health, welfare and growth rate of pigs. In addiotion we want to develop innovative concepts to use light, together with sensortechnology, to improve animal welfare and economic performance. At the same time decreasing the environmetal impact and contributing to sustainable pig production.

Clarity on Fruit Frost
Prof B.J.H. van de Wiel, TU Delft
In the Netherlands major crop damage due to spring frosts is a regular occurrence in fruit culture. Yet suprisingly little is known about this phenomenon. Current fruit protection measures lack a good basis in the exact sciences. This project aims to provide clarity with a unique approach. This approach combines field experiments with innovative measuring instruments, advanced simulation and specific physiological analysis of the response to frost. In addition we introduce new instruments that replace the traditional weather station with a completely autonomous, wireless network of smart temperature sensors. This will visualize a real time 3D image of the frost 'front' in order to allow the grower to directly take effective measures.

Source: NWO