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Châtenay-Malabry (FR - 92290), October 11, 2021
EFITA newsletter / 1007 - European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment
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FIRA 2021 -> Exploring the Role of Ag Robots in the Farming Systems of the Future
In the World FIRA 2021 roundtable discussion “Automation and the new ways of organizing agricultural work worldwide,” panelists from around the globe will discuss how a dynamic ag robotics market provides new opportunities for the industry to evolve.
Those interested in attending “Automation and the new ways of organizing agricultural work worldwide” should mark their calendars for Tuesday, December 7, 2021, from 9-10:15 am. This opening-day roundtable discussion will be a part of the World FIRA 2021 event that runs from December 7-9, 2021. Learn more about the World FIRA 2021 by visiting its web site.
Team of underground rescue robots wins $2 million DARPA prize, by David Hambling
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The pandemic’s true death toll
How many people have died because of the covid-19 pandemic? The answer depends both on the data available, and on how you define “because”. Many people who die while infected with SARS-CoV-2 are never tested for it, and do not enter the official totals. Conversely, some people whose deaths have been attributed to covid-19 had other ailments that might have ended their lives on a similar timeframe anyway. And what about people who died of preventable causes during the pandemic, because hospitals full of covid-19 patients could not treat them? If such cases count, they must be offset by deaths that did not occur but would have in normal times, such as those caused by flu or air pollution.
Rather than trying to distinguish between types of deaths, The Economist’s approach is to count all of them. The standard method of tracking changes in total mortality is “excess deaths”. This number is the gap between how many people died in a given region during a given time period, regardless of cause, and how many deaths would have been expected if a particular circumstance (such as a natural disaster or disease outbreak) had not occurred. Although the official number of deaths caused by covid-19 is now 4.8m, our single best estimate is that the actual toll is 15.9m people. We find that there is a 95% chance that the true value lies between 9.8m and 18.6m additional deaths.
Using ENVI® SARscape® and Sentinel-1 Data to Measure Ground Displacement From the Cumbre Vieja Volcanic Eruption
Volcanic eruptions pose a significant hazard and can trigger natural disasters on a local and global scale. Past eruptions have disrupted air traffic and caused significant damage to the global economy. Remote sensing, and in particular, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data, is being used to forecast, monitor and manage volcanic hazards.
Performing Flood Mapping After Cyclone Yaas Using ENVI SARscape
SAR data is particularly useful during weather emergencies like cyclones and hurricanes because it can see through cloud cover that often hampers other sensors’ abilities to capture the situation on the ground. After SAR data is captured, it must be processed and analyzed.
Read how the flood analysis from Cyclone Yaas was performed using Sentinel-1 data and ENVI SARscape by our exclusive Indian distributor, Esri India.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: A sunny farm exterior with two women by a well (1910) By Peder Mork Monsted
Future Farming web site
> Video: 13.000 hectares farmer desparately looking for unmanned tractor
Arable farmer Gerrit Kurstjens owns a farm in New South Wales, Australia. With 13.000 hectares, he experiences some trouble finding enough employees to do all the work. In this video, Gerrit and his daughter Marieke will explain the struggle they are experiencing and tell you what they are looking for in an autonomous tractor.
> The Autonomous Wizard of Oz blog Part 4: Who can deliver an autonomous add-on system?
Which company is prepared to build an autonomous system on existing farm machinery?
>Next generation weed management tools
Herbicide resistance is increasing. Can new, genetics-based strategies for detecting and solving herbicide resistance help farmers keep the advantage?
> Auga Group develops hybrid biomethane and electric tractor
Auga Group, Europe’s largest organic food producer, has developed a hybrid biomethane and electric tractor.
> Kubota and Yamaha invest in robotic strawberry harvester
The TX robotic strawberry harvester combines an unmanned ground vehicle with image sensors and artificial intelligence.
> Near Infrared Imagery detects mycotoxins in corn
Brazilian research shows mycotoxins in corn can be identified quickly and accurately using near infrared (NIR) imagery.
> Sentera launches thermal drone sensor for agriculture
The new Sentera 6X Thermal provides users with dynamic infrared imagery, enabling them to take their field research and analysis further.
> Syngenta explores insect scanner technology in agriculture
Syngenta’s Diopsis insect scanner to give growers insight into the balance between pests and beneficial insects in their crop. Read more
Agricultural Robots and AI: A Question of When and Not If, by Dr Khasha Ghaffarzadeh, June 01, 2020
Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) will drive a deep and transformative change in the agricultural world during the coming decades. Seeing, localising, and taking plant-specific intelligent action are no longer the exclusive realm of humans. Machines have demonstrated the technical viability and the emphasis has long shifted to the finer details of ROI, reliability, business model, etc. As such, a new class of activities in agriculture are prone to automation, just as advances in power and motion technologies mechanized many agricultural tasks, or just as advances in seed and agrochemical technology removed the human from many activities.
The IDTechEx assessment is that the upcoming changes are already a question of when and not if. The transformation will not be overnight, but nonetheless, robotics and AI are inevitability in the evolution of agricultural tools and practises. The scale of the potential is demonstrated in the chart below, which shows the forecasted long-term growth in annual unit sales (vs accumulated fleet size) of various autonomous and/or robotic solutions.
Why Good Is Good Enough When It Comes to New Ag Tech
The key to bringing new agtech to the field is that it doesn’t have to be perfect, says Growing Produce Editor David Eddy.
Going Beyond ROI with Precision Ag
It’s important to look beyond monetary gains to understand how your investments add value to your life and your business.
Ag-Analytics Acquires AcreValue
Combined industry expertise, including new strategic alliance with Farmer Mac and Indigo Ag, furthers the adoption of land loan servicing and carbon farming.
There Are Big Opportunities in Carbon – and Ag Technology Can Enable Them
For ag retail, the time is good to invest in technology that will enable carbon credits at the farm level.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: Plein air by by Peder Mørk Mønsted
Robotic Farmers: Can AI Farming Make Agriculture More Sustainable?
According to one Silicon Valley firm, artificial intelligence-powered robots might farm more sustainably than traditional agriculture.
Data snapshot: Investment in consumer-facing food tech rebounds to $15bn in H1 2021, Jennifer Marston, October 7, 2021
Investment in foodtech startups operating consumer-facing businesses is rebounding with $14.9 billion invested in the first half of this year, according to AgFunder data.
The rebound comes after investment in downstream startups slipped behind upstream startups (those operating on the farm, in the midstream, and in the lab) for the first time in almost a decade. In 2020, investment in upstream technologies and business models outpaced downstream for the first time since AgFunder published its first global investment report in 2014.
While upstream investment still looks set to outpace the total from last year, it’s far behind downstream investment; the staggering amount of investment raised in downstream startups in the first half of 2021 is higher than any full-year total on record.
The future of geospatial imaging in agriculture, according to Aker Tech’s Orlando Saez, October 5, 2021
Competition among startups targeting the crop health and analytics space can be fierce. Farmers have a plethora of choices when it comes to testing technologies that can provide deeper, real-time insights about what’s happening in their fields. To stay competitive, startups have to bring real value to growers — and the most accurate insights possible. For precision crop diagnostics startup Aker Technologies, relevant analytics combined with geospatial imaging is the key to standing out.
“We use it as the basis of what we do,” Orlando Saez, Co-Founder and CEO of precision crop diagnostics startup Aker Technologies, tells AFN.
Aker offers growers its TrueCause autonomous crop-scouting technology and its software platform, which together offer “above” and “under”-the-canopy crop diagnostics and analysis of field conditions and input effectiveness.
Concentrate farming to leave room for species and carbon (Andrew Balmford, Prof. University of Cambridge, FRS)
Farming should be as high-yield as possible so it can be limited to relatively small areas, allowing much more land to be left as natural habitats while still meeting future food targets, according to a major new analysis of over a decade of research.
Most species fare better under this “land sparing” approach than if farming tries to share land with nature – as wildlife-friendly agriculture still damages most biodiversity and requires far more land to produce the same amount of food.
This is the conclusion of research that takes into account over 2,500 individually assessed plant, insect and vertebrate species from five continents. The review, conducted by Prof Andrew Balmford, also suggests that “land sparing” sequesters more carbon, and may well benefit marine life if applied to oceans.
“Figuring out how to feed, clothe and power 11 billion people without causing mass species extinction and wrecking the climate is this century’s greatest challenge,” he said. “Preserving diverse life while meeting humanity’s needs will mean enormous trade-offs, but the evidence is starting to point in one direction.”
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: Septemberaften i en Bondegaard by Peder Mørk Mønsted
Advanced Farm Technologies closes $25m Series B round for its robotic harvesting system, by Jennifer Marston, September 23, 2021
Advanced Farm Technologies, a farm robotics company based in California, has closed a $25 million Series B round of funding led by Catapult Ventures. The round also included participation from all of Advanced Farm Technologies’ Series A investors: tractor maker Kubota, automotive giant Yamaha Motor, and Impact Ventures.
Founded in 2018, Advanced Farm Technologies’ core business is its TX Robotic Strawberry Harvester, which can sense and pick ripe strawberries from in-soil beds in the field.
The robot is equipped with a stereo camera that scans around the strawberry beds taking many images every second and adapting the path of the machine based on those images. Real-time machine-learning models take into account factors like size and ripeness of the berries and make decisions on where to move the harvester to get closer to those berries. The robotic grippers then gently pick the ripe fruit and transfer it to baskets.
Harvesters work alongside human laborers. On any given field there could be three to five harvesters, with a single person operating the machines. Advanced Farm Technologies co-founder and president Kyle Cobb tells AFN that on a 200-acre farm, you might have a few different crews picking strawberries, with one of those crews made up of his company’s robots.
Cobb says a major benefit of the robotic harvesters is that they can work 24 hours a day, and can assist growers when they face shortages of human labor.
New vaccine appears to block the spread of African swine fever
African swine fever has been wreaking havoc across Asia since 2018. According to the National Pork Producer Council, the number of sows China has lost to ASF is more than the entire U.S. sow herd. If this disease were to enter the U.S., it would cause billions of dollars in losses and shut down our export market. However, scientist have been working on a vaccine to protect against this deadly disease.
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service announced that one of its African swine fever virus vaccine candidates has been shown to prevent and effectively protect both European and Asian bred swine against the current circulating Asian strain of the virus.
What's behind surging energy prices in the United Kingdom and Europe?
According to energy analyst John Constable, it's "the ripping of the whirlwind of two decades of climate policies."
In this episode of The Human Progress Podcast, Constable joins our editor to discuss the current energy crisis, green policy failures, and the right way to decarbonize.
Biodiversity, Agriculture, Soil & Environment
BASE-UK was founded in 2012 and is a farmer led knowledge exchange organisation for individuals interested in regenerative agriculture and passionate about the sustainability, health, and growth of our soil and therefore our industry.
BASE stands for Biodiversity – Agriculture - Soil – Environment and the UK group was formed to run in parallel with the innovative and influential group started in Brittany by Frederic Thomas.
The group follows the principles which are fundamentally about carbon management and health in soil based on 3 core principles:
- Minimum soil disturbance.
- Residue cover on the soil.
Wildtierschutz: Katzen und Singvögel: Was ist dran an der Bedrohung?
Covid-19 news: Pfizer vaccine 90% effective against hospitalisation
The latest coronavirus news updated every day including coronavirus cases, the latest news, features and interviews from New Scientist and essential information about the covid-19 pandemic
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: The Haymakers (1862) by James Thomas Linnell (1820-1905)
How many vaccine doses has each country donated?
The COVID vaccine rollout has been highly unequal across countries: 67% of people in high-income countries have received at least one dose, compared to just 2% in low-income countries.
COVAX is a worldwide initiative to address this inequality by coordinating resources and donations to deliver vaccines to low-to-middle-income countries.
The chart shows how many vaccine doses each country has pledged to COVAX — and whether those doses have been delivered, donated but not delivered, or merely announced. For instance, the US has announced that it will donate 290 million doses, and so far 81 million of those have actually been delivered.
Individuals can also make a donation to COVAX via the World Health Organization’s Go Give One campaign — donating $5 pays for one dose. Each full vaccine course is estimated to provide $5800 in value to the world, and may well save a life.
How is climate change impacting our planet?
We just published a new data explorer on Climate Change Impacts. It allows you to explore indicators of climatic change, including temperature rise, ocean heat content, sea level rise, glacial melt, and more.
We will update these metrics monthly.
High food prices are here to stay
Disruptions from covid-19 are not the only reason it is costing more to fill stomachs.
The final factor is weather. Droughts in parts of Africa, Asia and the Americas, caused by a climatic phenomenon called La Niña, caused harvest forecasts to disappoint at the turn of year, fuelling inflation. But more clement conditions since the spring means the growing season has progressed unperturbed in many key regions.
Yet there are reasons to think relief is premature. Reports that swine flu is spreading across China again are feeding fears of another cull. Rebuilding the country’s pig stocks anew would require tonnes of feed to fatten lots more little pigs, which could once again upset grain markets. The huge backlog in shipping means hiccups will dissipate only slowly. As covid-19 cases rise, fuelled by the highly infectious Delta variant, more restrictions could come into force, delaying shipments further still. And meteorologists reckon there is a 70-80% probability that another La Niña strikes this winter.
The most enduring headache, however, may be global warming. Already a rise in average temperatures is changing production patterns in some of the world’s breadbaskets, and not always in a good way. More frequent extreme events in big farming regions, meanwhile, risk denting production unexpectedly. And the urge to shorten supply chains could make markets less efficient, which would add to costs. Food prices are likely to remain a hot topic well after covid-19 is under control.
The last word
Here, @GeorgeMonbiot frank about climate alarmism (a tweet by Bjorn Lomborg) and see the paper by @Georges Monbiot hereafter
We must "dramatically reduce economic activity" + do "less of everything".
Climate alarmism is opposed to mass prosperity won't win elections, which is why politicians talk climate but don't do much.
‘Green growth’ doesn’t exist – less of everything is the only way to avert catastrophe, by George Monbiot
It is simply not possible to carry on at the current level of economic activity without destroying the environment.
This isn’t, in itself, an argument against direct air capture machines or other “green” technologies. But if they have to keep pace with an ever-growing volume of economic activity, and if the growth of this activity is justified by the existence of those machines, the net result will be ever greater harm to the living world.
Everywhere, governments seek to ramp up the economic load, talking of “unleashing our potential” and “supercharging our economy”. Boris Johnson insists that “a global recovery from the pandemic must be rooted in green growth”. But there is no such thing as green growth. Growth is wiping the green from the Earth.
We have no hope of emerging from this full-spectrum crisis unless we dramatically reduce economic activity. Wealth must be distributed – a constrained world cannot afford the rich – but it must also be reduced. Sustaining our life-support systems means doing less of almost everything. But this notion – that should be central to a new, environmental ethics – is secular blasphemy.
My approach (GW): It seems to me that human beings are able to imagine new solutions to produce clean energy (nuclear or not), to capture carbon, etc. that will enable our humanity to cope with the climate change!
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: The Rainbow by James Thomas Linnell (1820-1905)
How Olaf Scholz Won Germany?
Dalia Marin attributes the Social Democrats' victory to its campaign message emphasizing the dignity of all workers.
Among the sources of inspiration for the party’s program is the Harvard University philosopher Michael Sandel. In his recent bestseller, The Tyranny of Merit, Sandel argues that education has become the greatest source of division in society. True, education was once a top progressive priority and part of any self-respecting social democratic party’s DNA. The idea was that if you work hard and educate yourself, you can rise in society. But as Sandel contends, meritocracy has a dark side, because the winners tend to look down on those who do not achieve the same upward mobility.
Even if the winners owe their success largely to luck, an expressly meritocratic system allows them to say that they deserve their gains, because they were all of their own making. It also leads to the conclusion that the less well-off deserve their station, as if they simply failed to try hard enough. According to Sandel, meritocracy – and the attitudes it instills – has made the elite into an arrogant club, while depriving many others of their dignity.
The meritocratic narrative that Sandel criticizes ignores the fact that not everybody has an equal opportunity to “win.” In Germany, only 15% of students from a household without university graduates complete a Bachelor’s degree, compared to 63% of students from more educated households. This is an important reason why Germany lags behind most other OECD countries in terms of social mobility.
Scholz’s campaign succeeded because he recognized that Sandel’s insights applied almost perfectly in Germany. The SPD regained votes from its traditional base, where many had felt betrayed and thus turned to the leftist party Die Linke. Owing at least partly to Scholz’s deft messaging, Die Linke’s share of the vote shrank by 50% from its 2017 level. It is now barely scraping by, falling below the 5% threshold but maintaining its presence in parliament by dint of having won three districts directly.
More surprisingly, perhaps, the Social Democrats also seem to have siphoned votes from the far-right Alternative für Deutschland. Indeed, the SPD is now the strongest party in every eastern German state except Saxony and Thuringia, where the AfD dominates. Apparently, the SPD’s campaign of “respect” appealed to Germans who have felt a loss of dignity in the years since the fall of communism and reunification.
Behind the Modern Malaise (by Brigitte Granville)
Brigitte Granville reviews recent work examining causes and cures for the long-term plight of workers.
But political leaders, like good horseback riders, must channel energies that would otherwise run wild. Perhaps some new cause will mobilize social energies that responsible politicians can harness to advance meaningful reforms. Perhaps the deepening climate crisis will provide that impetus. If so, we will have learned that overcoming paralysis requires nothing short of a planetary disaster.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: A moment of rest by Sir Georges Clausen
India: Record 80m rural households have piped drinking water under Jal Jeevan Mission
Official data show there has been a four-fold increase in the rate at which functional piped water is being provided to households in India’s 117 so-called aspirational districts, home to some of the poorest Indians, overtaking the pace at which piped water is bring provided nationally under the flagship Jal Jeevan Mission.
Saborear la Tramuntana: la cara más íntima de la sierra mallorquina
Valldemossa, Deià y Port de Sóller descubren sus delicias gastronómicas y rincones con encanto.
James was walking down the road one morning when he met his friend Danny.
"Morning, Danny. Er ... Danny, you're wearing a glove on one hand and none on the other. Did you know?"
"Yes, well I heard the weather forecast this morning, you see."
"The Weather forecast?"
"Yes, the weather forecast. the forecaster said on the one hand it might be fine but on the other hand there might be some rain."
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