Journal of Agricultural Engineering 2020-06-29T14:31:13+00:00 Paola Granata Open Journal Systems <p>The <strong>Journal of Agricultural Engineering (JAE)</strong> is the official journal of the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>Italian Society of Agricultural Engineering</strong></a>. The subject matter covers a complete and interdisciplinary range of research in engineering for agriculture and biosystems.</p> Evaluation of energy requirements of an industrial scale plant for the cultivation of white button mushroom (<em>Agaricus bisporus</em>) 2020-06-29T09:45:21+00:00 Roberto Beghi Valentina Giovenzana Alessio Tugnolo Domenico Pessina Riccardo Guidetti <p>The white button mushroom (<em>Agaricus bisporus</em>) industry is paying attention to innovation for a more sustainable production and it is getting sophisticated to reach high grade of energetic efficiency coupled with high quality product. For mushroom cultivation the environmental conditions must be controlled therefore in some phases the heat needs to be provided and in other ones it needs to be removed. The objective of this study was to investigate the current growing methodology used at an industrial mushroom farm site for a quantification of energy consumption. Mushroom growing parameters such as temperature and relative humidity were monitored during the production process placing sensors for a continuous data recording of these parameters in different and crucial positions throughout the entire production cycle. Heat is massively produced by the compost/mycelium system and the goal was to quantify the amount of energy needed to remove it through a cooling system and a forced air system that pulls cold air in the cultivation room and picks up the warmer and more humid air. Often, the heat produced by the cultivation room is not enough to reach the optimal growth conditions. In this case the application of an air heating system is necessary. The study was focused on evaluating the energy exchanges during a 41-day period corresponding to a growth cycle of three flushes to quantify the energy requirements of the conditioning system. A total energy of 5483 kWh/cycle was quantified for a mushroom production of 25,000 kg, corresponding to a specific energy requirement of 0.22 kWh/kg, 0.18 for cooling and 0.04 for heating. Results showed that the electric power consumption represents a crucial cost for the mushroom production, therefore an optimization of the energy requirements of the production plant is desirable and it can lead to relevant economic savings. A scenario considering a more efficient air conditioning system was proposed for a more sustainable mushroom production.</p> 2020-06-18T09:11:30+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 the Author(s) Testing soil water repellency in a Sicilian area two years after a fire 2020-06-29T09:47:17+00:00 Vincenzo Bagarello Giuseppe Basile Gaetano Caltabellotta Giuseppe Giordano Massimo Iovino <p>The water drop penetration time (WDPT) technique was applied in 2018 to check persistence of soil water repellency (SWR) in a Sicilian mountain area affected by a wildfire on June 2016. A total of four sites, that were severely water repellent immediately after burning, were sampled. Depending on the site, wettable soil conditions, less SWR and maintenance of a noticeable SWR were detected two years later. At the site showing a near-constant SWR, WDPTs were particularly high in the top soil layer (0-0.03 m) and they appreciably decreased more in depth. Signs of decreasing SWR in drier soil conditions and in association with coarser soil particles were also detected at this site. High gradients of the WDPT can occur at very small vertical distances and a depth increment of approximately 0.01 m should be appropriate to capture small-scale vertical changes in SWR, especially close to the soil surface. Occurrence of SWR phenomena is easily perceivable and explainable if an inverse relationship between WDPTs and antecedent soil water content is obtained. A direct relationship between these two variables is more difficult to interpret because infiltration times that increase in wetter soil are expected according to the classical infiltration theory. A hypothesis that should be tested in the future is to verify if WDPTs that decrease in drier soil conditions signal less SWR as a consequence of a reduced biological activity of the soil. Finally, long-term monitoring projects on longevity of fire effects on SWR should be developed, even because an in depth knowledge of the involved processes is relevant for the civil protection system.</p> 2019-10-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Vincenzo Bagarello, Giuseppe Basile, Gaetano Caltabellotta, Giuseppe Giordano, Massimo Iovino Evaluation of a multisensorial system for a rapid preliminary screening of the olive oil chemical compounds in an industrial process 2020-06-29T09:48:34+00:00 Antonia Tamborrino Alessandro Leone Roberto Romaniello Simone Grasso Alessandro Zompanti Maurizio Servili Pablo Juliano Marco Santonico <p>In this study, a sensory system, named BIONOTE, based on gas and liquid analyses was used to analyse the headspace of olive oil samples obtained at the end of the extraction process for a preliminary screening of the volatile and phenolic compounds. Olive oil samples were obtained using different olive paste conditioning systems, including microwave and megasound machines at different processing time. The same olives batch was used for the entire test. BIONOTE showed the ability to discriminate between 64 virgin olive oils originated from different technologies or by using different process parameters, as demonstrated by the partial least square discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) models calculated. The percentage of correct classification in different conditions are in a range from 92.19% to 100%. In addition, the research shown that the multisensorial system can provide a preliminary estimation of some volatile and phenolic compounds concentrations detected by laboratory analysis. Data analysis has been performed using multivariate data analysis techniques: PLS-DA cross validation via leave one out criterion. Future perspectives are to further develop BIONOTE in order to increase the number of detected chemical compounds and finally to include the mathematical models obtained in the BIONOTE microcontroller for a rapid chemical characterization of olive oil in the mill.</p> 2020-06-18T09:58:22+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 the Author(s) Transportation of maize silage to biogas plants 2020-06-29T09:57:18+00:00 Marco Manzone Gianfranco Airoldi Angela Calvo <p>Maize silage is one of the most used feedstock for the anaerobic digestion plants in Italy. As biomass, it is necessary to choose maize hybrids and sowing times to reach the maturity stage at the planned harvest period. In addition, the contractor has to set up transport chains considering distances and other factors affecting the forward speed in function of the supplied biogas plants. This work examined different road conditions (length, weather and congestion) that might influence the maize silage transportation under both the energy and economic points of view. Tests were carried out with an agricultural tractor equipped with two trailers (a turntable steering and a dumper) along six itineraries (6.2, 15.3, 22.1, 32.5, 44.4, and 58.2 km) in two different traffic conditions: high congestion (early morning) and low congestion (evening). Tests were also performed in two seasons with different weather conditions: late Summer and early Autumn. The average forward speed was 27.40 km h<sup>–1</sup> with a 15% difference between the best (evening and late Summer) and the worst (early morning and early Autumn) condition, with a productivity that varied between 9.50 and 81.98 m<sup>3</sup>h<sup>–1</sup> respectively. The performed tests confirmed that the energetic evaluation is always positive also in the longest itinerary (58.2 km), but the actual market value of maize silage (52.00 € t<sup>–1</sup>) limits the convenience of the transportation distance up to 18 km. In conclusion, the study showed that the maize silage transportation using agricultural tractors not only depends on the travelled distance, but also on the road congestion and the weather conditions.</p> 2020-06-18T10:22:15+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 the Author(s) A technical-economic analysis of telemetry as a monitoring tool for crop protection in viticulture 2020-06-29T14:31:13+00:00 Daniele Sarri Stefania Lombardo Andrea Pagliai Luca Zammarchi Riccardo Lisci Marco Vieri <p>Based on the European Community framework directive 2009/128/EC that is devoted to the sustainable use of pesticides, farmers’ sensitivity and their administrative fulfillments are growing in recent years. Great attention is directed towards remote data acquisition by smartphone, satellites, drones. An available technological tool to accomplish this in the scenario of precision viticulture technologies is telemetry. This study aimed to evaluate the usefulness of the data acquired with a telemetry system used when applying crop protection products in a winemaking farm for management optimization. Results showed an incorrect operative operation rate for 9.53% of the total kilometers worked during the spraying phase with a variable cost for fuel and pesticides ranging between 0.01 € m<sup>–1</sup> and 0.03 € m<sup>–1</sup>.</p> 2020-06-18T10:32:52+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 the Author(s) Tractive performance of Trelleborg PneuTrac tyres 2020-06-29T14:28:28+00:00 Michele Mattetti Massimiliano Varani Mirko Maraldi Francesco Paolini Stefano Fiorati Giovanni Molari <p>In the last decades, heavier and more powerful tractors were introduced to the market and they require bigger tyres in order to exert higher traction forces but also to limit soil compaction. Therefore, different solutions were proposed by manufacturers to increase the footprints of traction elements, so that a higher drawbar pull is allowed especially in cohesive soils. However, these solutions have provided a limited increase in the traction efficiency. Recently, Trelleborg have developed a tyre named PneuTrac. The main feature of this tyre lies in the fact that the carcass is radially flexible like a standard radial tyre, but still able to support cornering loads like tracks. This allows the tyre to run with a very low inflating pressure. The aim of this paper was to compare the tractive performance of a set PneuTrac with that of an equivalent set of standard radial tyres. Both types of tyre were mounted on the same tractor, equipped with a CAN-Bus data logger, a load cell and a GPS receiver to measure the drawbar pull and other vehicle operating parameters. Drawbar tests were carried out in three different soil conditions. Results show that PneuTrac performance was slightly less affected by soil conditions than in the case of traditional radial tyres. Overall, PneuTrac tyres permit to increase the drawbar pull up to 5.7% and to reduce slip. PneuTrac tyres also provided a 7.7% increase in the power delivery efficiency with respect to traditional radial tyres.</p> 2020-06-18T10:46:30+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 the Author(s) Design discharge estimation in small and ungauged basins: EBA4SUB framework sensitivity analysis 2020-06-29T14:22:33+00:00 Andrea Petroselli Rodolfo Piscopia Salvatore Grimaldi <p>The design hydrograph and the related peak discharge estimation for small and ungauged basins is a common problem in practical hydrology. When discharge observations are not available, it is difficult to calibrate physically-based hydrological models that are typically characterized by a large number of input parameters. Recently, a simple empirical-conceptual rainfall-runoff model called EBA4SUB (<em>event-based approach for small and ungauged basins</em>) has been proposed. Its advantages are a limited user subjectivity, the employment of advanced hydrologic modules, and the use of input data similar to the information necessary for applying the well-known rational formula. In this contribution we illustrate the EBA4SUB sensitivity analysis, in order to assess the input parameters influence on the output design discharge. Results showed, as expected, that the most effective parameter is the curve number, followed by the concentration time. On the contrary, the threshold area value for classifying the drainage network, the time resolution of the design hyetograph and of the unit hydrograph, and the kinematic parameters needed to estimate the flow time can be considered as ancillary input parameters.</p> 2020-06-18T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 the Author(s) Method of pump, pipe, and tank selection for aeroponic nutrient management systems based on crop requirements 2020-06-29T14:12:36+00:00 Milon Chowdhury Md. Shaha Nur Kabir Hyeon-Tae Kim Sun-Ok Chung <p>The system-specific selection of aeroponic nutrient system components, specifically pumps, pipes, and tanks, is very important to improve system efficiency and minimize costs, as these components vary for different systems with different crop water requirements and design specifications. In this study, methods were suggested for determining the most suitable sizes of pumps, pipes, and tanks based on the plant water consumption and irrigation interval targeted to improve the usual procedures to design an aeroponic nutrient management system, and applied to a case. Factors affecting the size calculation are discussed, and calculation methods were suggested based on basic hydraulic principles. A recycle-type aeroponic nutrient management system, cultivating 500 plants in 21 plant beds, was considered for a case study. Application of the size calculation methods in the case study showed that an irrigation pump with a 37 Lmin<sup>–1</sup> flow rate at 900 kPa capacity and nutrient pumps with a 5 Lmin<sup>–1</sup> flow rate at 40 kPa capacity with 19-mmdiameter pipes were required to deliver the mixed nutrients and supply stock solutions into the mixing tank, along with nutrient mixing, stock nutrients, and distilled water tanks of 750, 40, and 685 L, respectively. Calculation was demonstrated to show the variations in the sizing of the pumps, pipes, and tanks by number of plants. Validation tests were performed for the selected irrigation pump capacity, and the results showed that the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient (NSE), coefficient of determination (R<sup>2</sup>), and root-mean-square error (RMSE) values were 0.410, 0.98, 0.109 Lmin<sup>–1</sup> and 0.775, 0.99, 34.91 kPa for flow rate and pressure, respectively. The case study also showed that these sizing procedures increased the plant bed coverage efficiency of the irrigation pump by 33%, while increasing the nutrient mixing tank size by 133%. This study would provide useful information on the efficient sizing of pumps, pipes, and tanks for minimizing costs and maximizing crop production in aeroponic nutrient management systems.</p> 2020-06-18T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 the Author(s)