Category Archives: Uncategorized

HOW TO SPEED UP INNOVATION IN AGRICULTURE?

Abstract for oral presentation at NJF SEMINAR 502 Advances and Innovations in Agricultural Engineering. The 3rd NJF – Agromek- EurAgEng joint seminar Nov. 27 – 28, 2018 in Herning, Denmark

ABSTRACT FOR  PRESENTATION

HOW TO SPEED UP INNOVATION IN AGRICULTURE?

Hannu E. S. HAAPALA

Agrinnotech, Kalevankatu 12B A26, 60100 Seinäjoki, Finland

hannu.haapala@agrinnotech.com

Keywords: Innovation, Agriculture, User-Centered Design, Multi-Actor Approach

            Innovation in agriculture often stops at the adoption phase. According to recent research, new products or services are not adopted because of their poor usability or the users mistrust in new technology. Usability issues arise when designers have inadequate understanding of the use-context. Mistrust originates from bad experiences using the new technologies.

            How to overcome these obstacles of swift innovation? The presentation concludes results from two research projects on agricultural innovations: the OECD Joint Research Program research ´Speeding up innovation in agriculture´ (2011-2012) and EU HORIZON2020 project ´AgriSpin´ (2015-2017). Based on these, recommendations on how to speed up the innovation process are given.

            The OECD-funded research ´Speeding up innovations in agriculture´ was done as a web-based questionnaire and personal interviews of selected experts. The results pointed out the most important hinders. Poor adoption includes mainly problems in acceptability. Farmers also face problems in integrating the new technologies in the existing systems at the farm level. They tend to have mistrust on new technology as a whole. A recommendation was made that the education of engineers, designers, marketers and end-users of new technologies need to include more user-centered elements. They also need to interact better during the RDI process. User-Centered Design (UCD) was promoted.

            ´AgriSpin´ was a forerunner of Multi-Actor Approach in HORIZON2020. The Cross Visit Methodology including thorough analysis of 50 innovation cases in Europe was applied and improved during the project. The Spiral of Innovation was used to illustrate the cases and to communicate them to wider audience. Pearls, Puzzlings and Proposals were reported for each case in Final Symposiums where relevant stakeholders were informed about the findings and challenged for developing the local innovation environment of agriculture. Conclusions include that agricultural innovations, although technological in nature, are developed, realized, disseminated and embedded through a social process. This process should be understood better to be able to support it correctly. A recommendation was made that the Multi-Actor Approach should be used since the application environment is complex.

SPEEDING UP THE INNOVATION PROCESSES IN AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING THROUGH USER-CENTRED DESIGN AND MULTI-ACTOR APPROACH

Oral presentation and full paper at Engineering for Rural Development, Jelgava, Latvia

SPEEDING UP THE INNOVATION PROCESSES IN AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING THROUGH USER-CENTRED DESIGN AND MULTI-ACTOR APPROACH

Hannu E. S. Haapala

Agrinnotech, Finland

hannu.haapala@agrinnotech.com

Abstract. Innovation processes in agricultural engineering face factors that slow down or even abort them. This is the case also for the application and embedding phases. If not widely applied in practice the innovations do not give their full potential. If the process is totally aborted, all the investments in research and prototyping are done in vain, and the projected benefits of the new solutions are not realized at all. To avoid unnecessary losses, it is important that users accept the developed products. The technologies need first to be purchased, and then used in a proper manner so that their benefits are realized, so that the users return to buy again. According to recent research, an important buying criterion of new solutions in agriculture is usability. Usable products have a good combination of ease-of-use, learnability, and efficiency. They also operate with few errors. Finally, they are subjectively pleasing. User-Centred Design (UCD) is a methodology for designing usable technologies and services. It is widely utilized to ensure better end-user acceptance. Inclusion of end-users in innovation makes the products more suitable for the users’ variable situations. The UCD also builds the users’ trust on the solutions. Eventually, UCD reduces need for iteration in the process, thus speeding up the innovation. Multi-Actor Approach (MAA) brings different kinds of people together to develop solutions. Best results are achieved when the participants have long enough cognitive distances. MAA speeds up the innovation processes as the products have been assessed from several angles. The probability for reaching a winning product arises.  In the paper, examples are given on UCD and MAA in the design of agricultural solutions. Two projects of the author, an OECD-CRP and an H2020 funded research on how to speed up and support innovation in agriculture, are referred. Recommendations on how to enhance the usage of these methods are given.

Keywords: agriculture, engineering, innovation, User-Centred Design, Multi-Actor Approach

Measurement of Ammonia emission in practical dairy farm environment

Oral presentation and full paper at 3rd Renzes-Vous Techniques AXEMA 2019, Paris, France.

Measurement of Ammonia emission in practical dairy farm environment

Hannu Haapala1, Maarit Hellstedt2

1 Agrinnotech, Kalevankatu 12B A26, 60100 Seinäjoki, Finland

2 Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Kampusranta 9C, 60320 Seinäjoki, Finland

Keywords

Ammonia, Emission, Measurement, Dairy, Practice

Summary

Ammonia emission measurement in practical farm environment needs to meet several contradictory requirements. The instrumentation has to be accurate enough yet economical and easy to use. Most of new dairy production buildings are free-stall type which sets special requirements to positioning of the sensors in 3D. Measurement locations have to be carefully selected so that they represent the flow patterns inside and out of the building. Sensors have to have suitable dynamic behavior and sampling needs to be dense if rapid changes in concentrations due to e.g. the effect of changing daily routines are to be detected.

A practical instrumentation for Ammonia emission measurement was designed and tested in one-week sessions in six different Finnish dairy barns during all four seasons. The positioning of sensors in 3D was tested. The sampling rate was set high to detect the dynamics of emission.

Results show how the instrumentation effects the obtained results. It was concluded that the instrumentation was feasible. It is economical yet accurate enough for the calculation of farm-level Ammonia emission. Further studies are, however, needed to refine the procedure of setting the measurement.

User-Centred Design (UCD) and Multi-Actor Approach (MAA) in agricultural innovations – case: combi drill design

Oral presentation and full paper at Agroecotech 2019, St Petersburg, Russia.

ABSTRACT

 

User-Centred Design (UCD) and Multi-Actor Approach (MAA) in agricultural innovations – case: combi drill design

Hannu E. S. HAAPALA

Agrinnotech, Kalevankatu 12B A26, 60100 Seinäjoki, Finland

hannu.haapala@agrinnotech.com

Innovation in agriculture often stops at the adoption phase. The reasons for poor adoption are traditionally economical. New solutions are not purchased because of their higher cost and uncertain benefits. However, according to recent research, there are other important obstacles for adoption. Users get bad experiences using new technologies. This causes mistrust on new solutions as a whole.

Two research projects on agricultural innovations, funded by OECD Joint Research Program and EU Horizon 2020, resulted in several recommendations on how to speed up the innovation process. ´Speeding up innovation in agriculture´ (2011-2012) concluded that designers have inadequate understanding of the use-context of the products. It was recommended e.g. that education of engineers, designers, marketers and end-users needs to include User-Centred Design (UCD) methodologies. The ´AgriSpin´ (2015-2017) concluded that the social part of agricultural innovations should be better understood to be able to support them efficiently. A recommendation was made that Multi-Actor Approach (MAA) should be used during the innovation process to tackle the challenges better. In MAA partners with complementary types of knowledge – scientific, practical and other – join forces in project activities from beginning to end.

The inclusion of end-users and multiple actors has been used in Finnish R&D of agricultural machines. As an example, the seven metre wide combi drill ‘Junkkari W700’ was designed by the Finnish manufacturer Junkkari Oy in close cooperation with end-users and researchers. As a result of the innovation process several benefits have been realized. The cost of the drill is lower than in competing pneumatic drills through the introduction of a novel type of mechanical material transport. The need for hydraulics is minimized and the row spacing and coulter design has been optimized so that economical tractors with moderate drawpower can be used. Options were designed with ISOBUS-compliant controls either in the tractor or integrated in the drill so that the users can integrate the drill in existing machine chains, having either modern or older tractors, without extra investments. Much attention was put on quality, e.g. individual feeders for every coulter give accurate dosage of seed and fertilizer. The prototyping together with end-users and researchers gave Junkkari the possibility to speed up the innovation process.

As a conclusion, the UCD and MAA methodologies have benefits both for the users and manufacturers. Swift innovation process saves resources and minimizes the need for excess iterations in the innovation process.

Keywords: Agriculture, User-Centred Design, Multi-Actor Approach, Combined Drill

Ammonia Emissions from Dairy Barns in Finland

Oral presentation at AgEng2018 Congress in Wageningen, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT

Maarit Hellstedt1), Sari Luostarinen2), Juha Grönroos3), Hannu Haapala4)

1)Natural Resources Institute Finland, Kampusranta 9 C, 60320 Seinäjoki, maarit.hellstedt@luke.fi

2)Natural Resources Institute Finland,Vuorimiehentie 2, 02150 Espoo, sari.luostarinen@luke.fi

3)Finnish Environment Center SYKE, Mechelininkatu 34a, 00260 Helsinki, juha.gronroos@syke.fi

4)Agrinnotech, Kalevankatu 12b A26, 60100 Seinäjoki, hannuhaapala1@gmail.com

 

Ammonia emissions from dairy barns depend on several variable factors, most importantly on indoor temperature, ventilation, manure composition (type, nitrogen content and pH), manure handling method used, and the quality and quantity of litter. National Finnish emission model for nitrogen compounds, however, has been developed on the basis of international guidelines. In order to check and improve the reliability of these calculations, a sufficient number of domestic emission measurements is needed.

In this study, ammonia emissions were measured in six different dairy barns in four seasons. Continuous measuring data loggers were used and the measurements were done during one-week measuring periods. The measured results were compared to those of the national emission model.

The ammonia emissions measured varied considerably both between seasons and barns, being mainly less than 5 g / cow / day in loose housing. In stationary barns, ammonia emissions were on average less than 3.5 g / cow / day.

The share of volatile ammonium nitrogen calculated from the ammonium content of manure varied between 1% and 17%. The mean value for free stall barns was 5.5%. This is significantly lower than the 17.6% calculated with the emission model. The mean value for stationary barns, 9.3%, was, in turn, higher than the <6% calculated by the model.

The measured ammonia concentrations were lower than those previously measured in comparable circumstances. In Finland, relatively few ammonia emission measurements have previously been made on animal housing and none during all seasons. The results obtained also give new information on the seasonal variations in emissions.

Still, the results represent only few measurements and locations and their use is limited. In addition, a new kind of measurement method has been used and it should be further assessed and developed.

 

Keywords: dairy production, ammonia emission, manure

 

Continuous on-farm measurement of Ammonia emissions in dairy barns

Oral presentation and full paper at XIX World Congress of CIGR in Antalya, Turkey.

Agrinnotech designed and tested the practical emission measurement system.

ABSTRACT

Maarit Hellstedt, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

Hannu E S Haapala, Agrinnotech

Accurate assessment of national gaseous emissions needs measurements from different practical situations. The measurements need to be done in a proper way so that the results would represent the actual situations accurately enough.

In this study, measurements of Ammonia emissions were conducted in Finland at insulated and uninsulated stationary and loose-housing barns with different manure management and littering systems. The emission measurement instrumentation was done with a new setup enabling accurate results in both space and time. Usability of the measurement results and instrumentation were assessed.

One-week measurement sessions were done in a total of 24 sessions, i.e. six barns during all the four seasons. Continuously measuring Dräger PAC 7000 Ammonia monitors with a range of 0 to 300 ppm and a resolution of 1 ppm were used. The detection rate was set to 2 minutes in order to detect the dynamics of the emission. The Ammonia monitors together with CO2, temperature and RH gauges were placed inside the barns in three elevations (0.1, 1.0 and 2.5 meters) and in four to six locations, depending on the size of the barn. The ventilation rate in the barns was derived out of the measured C02balance. The Ammonia emission was then calculated based on the Ammonia concentrations and the ventilation rate.

According to the emission measurement results the loose-housing barns had significant differences in Ammonia emissions both during the seasons and between the farms as well, the level being mostly under 5 g/cow/day. In stationary barns the emission was less, under 3.5 g/cow/day. The emission level for loose-housing barns is considerably lower than the figures that have been previously used in national calculations. For stationary barns the situation is opposite. Loose-housing, however, is the dominant housing system in future. Consequently, the Ammonia emission level in Finland might be much lower than projected in the previous modelling.

The results concerning the implementation point out the importance of understanding the local circumstances and the ability to make the measurement design accordingly. Since there were several instrumentation locations the positioning of sensors could be evaluated. The dense detection rate could be used to reveal emission fluctuations and assess the effect of different detection rates on the reliability of measurements.

Instrument locations need to be derived from the barn layout and space. The continuous measurement principle with dense detection rate and relevant instrument locations allowed the researchers to find daily and momentous fluctuations in emission rate that were caused by the individual management practices on the farms and disturbances in them. These might explain the large variation in emission measurements that have been done before with inadequate instrumentation, i.e. using random locations or unsuitable detection rates.

The measurement principle utilized enables a more precise analyse of the differences of barns. The price-quality ratio of instrumentation limits the practical usability of methods. Research and inspection have different requirements from those of farm level. Continued studies are needed to develop optimised methods for farm level.

Key words: ammonia emission, measurement, accuracy, dairy production