Journal of Agricultural Engineering 2020-04-14T08:59:55+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> Shipping container equipped with controlled atmosphere: Case study on table grape 2020-03-25T08:25:37+00:00 Bernardo Pace Maria Cefola Antonio Francesco Logrieco Berardo Sciscio Antonio Sacchetti Massimiliano Siliberti Paolo Laforgia Angelo Amodio Giovanni Calderoni Claudio Achille Garavelli Maria Luisa Amodio Giancarlo Colelli <p>A prototype of shipping container equipped with controlled atmosphere (CA) system (CA-prototype), was used for the simulation of the cold transport of table grapes (cv <em>Italia</em>). The CAprototype was realised by IFAC SPA, within the Research Project Continnova. It is equipped with a cooling system in order to work at a temperature between –20°C and +15°C. The CA management is realised through the control system and the connections with the remote application. The experimental simulation of the cold transport was realised putting 20 boxes of table grapes inside the CA-prototype (set at 20% O<sub>2</sub> + 10% CO<sub>2</sub> in nitrogen), other 20 in a refrigerated room using a SO<sub>2</sub> pad inside each box, the remaining 20 in a cold room (Control) without SO<sub>2</sub> pad for 12 days at 5°C. At the end of the simulated transport, for each postharvest solution, 10 table grapes boxes were analysed, while the remaining 10 were stored for 3 days at 20°C in air with the aim to simulate a <em>shelf-life</em> period. CA-prototype allows preserving table grapes visual quality, delaying browning and maintaining berry turgidity, extending the <em>shelf-life</em> until 12 days at 5°C. Finally, CA-prototype resulted a valid alternative to the commonly used SO<sub>2</sub> pads, which are under constant revision because of its potential allergenic effects.</p> 2020-03-16T16:25:14+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 the Author(s) Kinematic analysis of rotary harrows 2020-03-25T08:24:14+00:00 Terenziano Raparelli Gabriella Eula Alexandre Ivanov Giuseppe Pepe <p>This article presents the kinematic analysis of the tine motion of a rotary harrow. In particular, it analyses the trajectories that the tines describe when they are pulled by the motion of the tractor and rotated by the rotors. This analysis, has led to the identification of the parameters that influence the motion of the tines and how these parameters intervene in the secondary tillage. The interaction between the tines and the soil is evaluated considering a plastic soil, i.e. without any cleavage and its propagation. With this hypothesis, the dimensions of the soil clods created by the passage of the tines in the soil have been analysed. The trajectories described by the tines of the machine, and therefore the dimensions of the portions of worked or unworked soil, are influenced by the operating parameters of the soil tillage process, such as the tractor speed and the angular speed of the tines themselves. Furthermore, a contribution is also given by the geometric parameters of the machine, such as the rotor radius and the geometric configuration of the rotary harrow in terms of rotor arrangement. This study is based on the creation of a mathematical model of the trajectories of the tines of a rotary harrow during soil tillage. The model is parametric and makes it possible to simulate and optimise the tillage process. The approach adopted also makes it possible to visualise the trajectories in graphic form for an easy visual interpretation of the results.</p> 2019-09-17T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 the Author(s) Substantiation of rational parameters of the root crops separator with a rotating inner separation surface 2020-03-25T08:34:32+00:00 Rim Khamaletdinov Vladimir Martynov Salavat Mudarisov Ildar Gabitov Eduard Khasanov Anton Pervushin <p>The aim of the paper is to justify the design and rational parameters of the secondary post-treatment separator of potato heap in the form of a truncated cone with a rotating internal separating surface which ensures the separation of potato tubers from soil lumps commensurate with them. Based on the analysis of works devoted to the process of potato heap separation, including on inclined surfaces, as well as the analytical calculations, it was concluded that it is possible to create a device for separating potato tubers from soil lumps in the form of a rotating truncated cone with an internal separating surface. As a result of the research, the design of the secondary post-treatment separator of potato heap in the form of a rotating drum in the form of a truncated cone with a separating roller. Laboratory and field tests have shown that with appropriate adjustments, separation of up to 80% of soil impurities commensurate in size with potato tubers is provided.</p> 2019-10-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 the Author(s) Computational fluid dynamics assessment of effect of different openings configurations on the thermal environment of a facility for coffee wet processing 2020-03-25T08:37:52+00:00 Robinson Osorio Hernandez Jairo Alexander Osorio Saraz Keller Sullivan Oliveira Ivan Dario Aristizabal Julio Cesar Arango <p>This study aimed to analyze the effect of the area size and location of openings for natural ventilation on the temperature and relative humidity inside a typological facility for coffee wet processing that have been using in Colombia and some South America Countries as well, with mechanical drying inside, using modeling with computational fluid dynamics modeling, in order to find the best suitable condition for preserve the quality of the coffee parchment. A significant effect was found regarding the area and location of the openings for natural ventilation on the internal hygrothermal environment, but no significant effect was found on the temperature. It was also found that the chimney effect plays a decisive role in the mass transfer of water vapor and heat to the outside of the building, and helping to maintain a suitable internal environment for the preservation of coffee.</p> 2020-03-16T16:52:27+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 the Author(s) Laboratory evaluation of falling-head infiltration for saturated soil hydraulic conductivity determination 2020-03-25T08:41:54+00:00 Paola Concialdi Vincenzo Bagarello Vincenzo Alagna Massimo Iovino <p>Falling-head one-dimensional infiltration procedures, such as the simplified falling-head (SFH) technique, yield estimates of saturated soil hydraulic conductivity, <em>K<sub>s</sub></em>, with parsimonious and rapid experiments. Factors that can influence determination of <em>K<sub>s</sub></em> by the SFH technique were tested in the laboratory on three repacked soils differing by particle diameter ranges (0-2000, 0- 105 and 105-2000 mm, respectively). Using the theoretically calculated depth of ponding on the infiltration surface, <em>D</em>, instead of the measured one had a small impact on the <em>K<sub>s</sub></em> calculations (means differing by a factor of 1.1-1.2, depending on the soil). For the finest soil, <em>K<sub>s</sub></em> decreased by 3.1 times as <em>D</em> increased from 40 to 135 mm but <em>D</em> did not affect <em>K<sub>s</sub></em> for the coarsest soil, yielding in general the highest <em>K<sub>s</sub></em> values. The abrupt increase of the infiltration rate close to the end of the run did not influence appreciably <em>K<sub>s</sub></em> calculations since it determined an increase in <em>K<sub>s</sub></em> by a mean factor never exceeding 1.1. The most frequent result of the developed procedure for estimating the α* parameter was failure of the experiment although the valid α* calculations were plausible, being higher for the coarse textured soil (17 m<sup>–1</sup>) than the finer soils (9.2-9.3 m<sup>–1</sup>). The depth of the wetting front at the end of the run was 1.1-1.2 times deeper than that calculated theoretically before the run, depending on the soil. In conclusion, the method used to determine <em>D</em> should not affect very much <em>K<sub>s</sub></em> determination but larger D values can yield smaller <em>K<sub>s</sub></em> values in fine-textured soils. Air escapes from the sampled soil volume when almost all water had infiltrated but this circumstance does not have a great impact on calculation of <em>K<sub>s</sub></em>. A falling-head one-dimensional ponded infiltration process is not recommended to estimate α*. The theoretical depth of the wetting front can approximately be predicted before the run. The SFH technique appears a rather robust method to simply and rapidly determine <em>K<sub>s</sub></em>.</p> 2019-10-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 the Author(s) Technical solutions for under-row weed control in vineyards: Efficacy, costs and environmental aspects analysis 2020-03-25T08:44:21+00:00 Marco Manzone Mattia Demeneghi Paolo Marucco Marco Grella Paolo Balsari <p>Weed control in vineyards is essential to allow optimal vines development. In this study, three different techniques (hoeing, chemical control, and mulching) used in vineyard’s under-row weed control were compared considering their: operative and economic aspects, energy consumptions and environmental impacts. Trials were performed in a vineyard located in Canelli (AT), Italy, characterized by 3 different gradient slopes (&lt;5%, 10-15%, &gt;20%). Each technique has been tested in 3 adjacent rows per each of the 3 vineyard slopes (randomized block test). Two weed control treatments were performed (at 50 days interval) during the peak vegetation growth period (from mid-April to mid-August). Major families of weeds in the test rows were described and scored (%), and weed control efficiency was measured by comparing the weeds cover area projected to the ground vs the test area. Results highlights that the use of mulching machine and the boom sprayer permits to maintain a weed coverage lower than 30% independently of slope gradient. The hoeing, characterized by low operational costs (26 € h<sup>–1</sup>) and energy requirement (550 MJ ha<sup>–1</sup>), scored acceptable working performances, but, in case of heavy rains, it can cause a runoff of the soil. The chemical weed control, also if results a valid choice in term of work quality, is not a valid solution from the environmental point of view. The mulching machine, although shows higher operating costs compared to other machines tested (30 € h<sup>–1</sup>), can be considered as the most viable alternative to chemical weed control because its working efficiency is comparable to that obtained by the sprayer.</p> 2020-03-16T17:13:39+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 the Author(s) Definition of a land quality index to preserve the best territories from future land take. An application to a study area in Lombardy (Italy) 2020-04-14T08:59:55+00:00 Giulio Senes Natalia Fumagalli Paolo Stefano Ferrario Roberto Rovelli Raffaele Sigon <p><em>Land take</em> is a process of land-use change in which the agricultural and natural land is taken by residential, industrial, infrastructure and other developments. This change causes the loss of a non-renewable resource, such as the agricultural/natural soil, and the relative natural, cultural and landscape resources. The growing awareness about the loss of ecosystem services related to land take led developed countries to try to reduce the quantity of land taken with new laws and regulations. The European Union has set the goal of zero land take by 2050. It is not only a problem of limiting and slowing down the phenomenon, but it is always clearer that the quality of the land taken has to be assessed and adequately considered during the land-use planning process. In fact, in some cases like in the Lombardy Region, the law focuses not only on reducing the amount of land take, but also on limiting the loss of land with <em>high qualities</em>, requiring municipalities to assess the productive, naturalistic and landscape qualities of the territory. In this paper, the authors develop, using the geographical information system technology, a methodology to define and calculate a composite land quality index (LQI). The methodology has been applied to a case study in the Lombardy region and has allowed to assess the quality of the territory in a rigorous and transparent way using available official data. In order to take into account the relative importance that stakeholders and land-use planners can give to the different components of LQI, analytic hierarchy process has been performed ad 4 different scenarios have been developed. LQI can support the land-use planning process in an <em>ex-ante</em> evaluation of different transformations hypotheses and in the definition of <em>quality-based</em> quantitative thresholds and monitoring of their trend over the time.</p> 2020-02-06T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Giulio Senes, Natalia Fumagalli, Paolo Ferrario, Roberto Rovelli, Raffaele Sigon