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EFITA newsletter / 1054 - European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment
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Before computers: One of the first Fiat tractor
Weekly newsletters about ICT in Agriculture in English and French
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AgTech NEXT 2022 Program
October 11-13, 2022
AgTech NEXT 2022 will feature globally recognized organizations and leaders who are catalyzing efforts to reinforce the resiliency of our food system, and who are reimagining what is possible in technology, trade, and talent, to ensure a future where nutritious food is sustainably produced and accessible for all.
Little Rose, by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)
> Case IH Connected Farm gets the most out of digital technology
What happens if you create a state-of-the-art farm, where an array of cutting-edge smart farming and digital technologies are introduced and put to use at the same time? We take a look at Case IH's 3,000 hectares Connected Farm in Brazil, which has complete digital agriculture solutions for pre-planting, seeding, treatments, harvesting and post-harvesting.
> Autonomous vehicles: Trimble invests in Autonomous Farming-as-a-Service company Sabanto
The investment is to help Sabanto accelerate its effort to make autonomy an affordable, reliable and scalable solution for all farmers throughout the world.
> Harvesting: Off-the-shelf components to speed up harvest automation
For start-ups of harvesting robots, scaling and technical complexity are big challenges. Making plug-and-play robot parts widely available can be one of the tactics to speed up automation, according to Walt Duflock, Western Growers VP of Innovation.
> Field robots: ‘Field robots are no miracle solution’
The CEOL field robot is an inter-row crawler developed in Toulouse by the young company Agreenculture. French grower Quentin Terrigeol bought one 2 years ago and shares his experiences with us.
> Field robots / Video: Trabotyx, weeding robot of Dutch origin
During the Dutch Future Farming & Food Experience in the Netherlands twelve field robots and implements for precision hoeing showed what they are capable of. At the event, the Trabotyx showed its weeding technology.
> Test: weeding robots capable of removing majority of weeds
How effective are weeding robots in detecting and removing weeds in a carrot and in an onion crop? During a first test, two different prototypes showed that they are capable of removing 55.7% percent of the weeds present on average.
> Autosteer: Trimble and Claas jointly develop precision farming system
The precision farming system is designed around one common user interface for Claas tractors, combines and forage harvesters and includes the new Claas Cemis 1200 "smart" display, GPS Pilot steering system and the SAT 900 GNSS receiver.
> Sustainability: Ants as a natural pesticide for a wide variety of crops
Researchers found ants can replace pesticides to protect crops. In some cases, ants are even better at pest control than commercial pesticides.
> GPS: Trimble RTX Integrity validates reliability of correction data
Trimble introduced data integrity monitoring for its precise point positioning (PPP) correction service, CenterPoint RTX Fast.
> Tools & data: Digital tool helps farmers remotely monitor the state of crops and increase yields
OneSoil application is a digital tool that helps farmers remotely monitor the state of crops, quickly detect field issues, work with productivity zones and apply variable-rate fertilizers and seeds.
‘Field robots are no miracle solution’
The CEOL field robot is an inter-row crawler developed in Toulouse by the young company Agreenculture. French grower Quentin Terrigeol bought one 2 years ago and shares his experiences with us. "If you want the machine to perform, it is necessary to constantly question yourself and think about how to improve your own practices."
Ploughing, by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)
How did we see the future yesterday??
See the incredible collection developed by Alain Fraval
Agriculture and Web3: Driving Value and Improving Security
As agriculture continues to innovate, it’s important to choose solutions that also provide protection against modern threats.
Croptimus AI Pest and Disease Detection Platform to be Distributed by Cultivatd
The platform uses computer vision to precisely identify pests and disease across a variety of crops including leafy greens and tomato seedlings.
Yara Feature Headline: Getting Down in the Dirt
BetterSoil Alliance aims to provide practical solutions for California's drought-stricken almond industry
Sheepfold at early morning, by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)
Longtermism: The future is vast — what does this mean for our own life? (Our World in Data)
The book that inspired much of this article, What We Owe the Future by Will MacAskill, is now available.
It's estimated that the number of people ever born is 117 billion. 109 billion of those people have already had their time on Earth—they lived and died. These are the red grains of sand at the bottom of the hourglass.
You are part of the green grains—the 8 billion who are alive now.
That’s humanity’s past and present. How many people will ever exist in our future?
We don't know. It depends on many things, especially how well we're able to navigate the pressing challenges of today, such as pandemics, climate change, and powerful technologies that are rapidly reshaping our world.
If we're able to address these challenges—as we’ve shown is possible against many large problems—our future is potentially extremely vast. We are only at the very beginning of human history.
In this article from March 2022, we make the case that this “longtermist” perspective is an important one to take. We will be the ancestors of a very large number of people. Let’s make sure we are good ancestors—by taking the risks we face more seriously and ensuring that humanity has a bright future for a long time to come.
Truterra, FarmRaise Partner to Provide Financial Support for Regenerative Practices
The collaboration eases the complicated process of managing grants and financial assistance, with the farmer-ag retailer relationship at the center.
Sentera Announces Key Enhancements to PHX Ag Drone
Enhancements to the PHX are designed to do make it easier to fly and capture data for drone pilots of all experience levels.
Building Brand Trust with the Story of On-Farm Innovation
Food companies can help build their sustainability success story by starting at the farm gate.
The Shepherdess, by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)
The world comes to Iowa to connect, learn and innovate, AFN Sponsored Post
As thousands of farmers and ag industry professionals descend on Boone, Iowa, for the 2022 Farm Progress Show, Iowa’s leadership in the ag industry will be in the spotlight. With more than 600 exhibitors and attendance from 46 states on average each year, the nation’s largest outdoor farm event is where the industry’s leaders, innovators, and founders come to learn and connect.
Held every other year at its Iowa location, Farm Progress is just one of many examples of Iowa serving as the epicenter for global leadership in agriculture, food, and biosciences. World Pork Expo, World Food Prize and numerous trade, consulate visits and a variety of national and regional events bring the world to Iowa throughout the year, highlighting the robust network of resources across the state.
“Farmers, ag professionals, and leaders around the world know that when they come to Iowa, they are in close proximity to leading researchers, companies, and funders to make the next generation of technologies and ideas possible,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “Whether it is founding or scaling up a startup, connecting with leading global brands, taking a job at a growing company, or joining the ranks of research scientists in the state, there are opportunities in nearly every sector of agriculture and in communities of all sizes.”
>>>Learning and Connecting
As travel and in-person events fill calendars again, Iowa is seeing a boom in events, meetings and shows of all sizes, highlighting the critical role the state plays in connecting the world’s agricultural leaders.
After millennia of agricultural expansion, the world has passed ‘peak agricultural land’ (Our World in Data)
Humans have been reshaping the planet’s land for millennia by clearing wildlands to grow crops and raise livestock. As a result, humans have cleared one-third of the world’s forests and two-thirds of wild grasslands since the end of the last ice age.
This has come at a huge cost to the planet’s biodiversity. In the last 50,000 years – and as humans settled in regions around the world – wild mammal biomass has declined by 85%.
Expanding agriculture has been the biggest driver of the destruction of the world’s wildlands.
This expansion of agricultural land has now come to an end. After millennia, we have passed the peak, and in recent years global agricultural land use has declined.
How St. Louis cultivates collaboration between agtech and geospatial tech to strengthen food security, AFN Sponsored Post
Geospatial technologies like remote sensing, GPS, and GIS have existed for decades, but it’s only recently that they’ve been established as important tools for the future of agriculture and, more importantly, global food security.
With these tools now enabling things like precision agriculture and data-informed decision-making, the time has come to increase and improve collaboration between the historically disparate sectors of agriculture and geospatial in order to develop meaningful answers to some of agrifood’s most pressing problems. Think war, inflation, disrupted trade, and supply chain troubles; all of which are happening as we speak.
Exactly how to do that will be a key topic at this year’s AgTech NEXT conference at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
The three-day event will feature a keynote from the 2022 World Food Prize Laureate, Cynthia Rosenzweig, PhD, who is a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies & the co-located Columbia University Earth Institute’s Center for Climate Systems Research.
The event will also include a panel discussion on the intersection of agriculture and geospatial technologies featuring Pablo Sobron, CEO of Impossible Sensing, Allison Miller, PhD, a Danforth Center principal investigator and professor of biology at Saint Louis University, and Vasit Sagan, acting director of the Taylor Geospatial Institute in St. Louis.
>>> Doing — and seeing — more with less
Sobron, whose company develops optical sensing applications for extreme environments, has a simple way of looking at the intersection of geospatial and ag: “You can see more for less,” he tells AFN.
Traditionally, he explains, measuring elements like soil health or nutrient availability required taking samples from the field to the lab or bringing sensors to the field. Both options are lengthy, costly processes for farmers wanting data that can help them optimize soil quality and, ultimately, crop yield.
Geospatial technologies like GPS or remote sensing allow farmers to understand much more about their land without having to deal with expensive sampling processes or long wait times. Large swaths of land such as commercial farmland will normally have variations in soil types, nutrient availability, and other factors from one area of the farm to the next; geospatial technologies can tell farmers and growers where these variations are so they can distribute fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, water resources, and other inputs more efficiently than in the past.
“Either from orbit or even from a high-elevation aircraft, you’re able to see much more, faster and cheaper,” says Sobron.
Andy Dearing, president of Spatial STL Advisors, highlights variable rate planting in row-cropping as an area that benefits from geospatial technologies.
“Growers and producers are trying to figure out how to take data at a micro level and apply it at a macro level,” he tells AFN. “For example, being able to say, ‘I know that this hybrid performs better in this type of condition, and I know this type of condition exists specifically here in this field.’ We’ve got 10 years of yield data to be able to provide that right prescription to that grower and almost guarantee that [crops] will perform a certain way based on the condition types in the field.”
Gleaners, by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)
Data snapshot: The downturn is testing the value of In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech, AFN, by Jennifer Marston
In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech was the fourth most-funded category of 2021, with startups bringing in $4.2 billion across 374 deals, according to AgFunder’s 2022 AgriFoodTech Investment Report. This is up from $2.4 billion in 2020.
AgFunder’s In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech category includes technologies like shelf-stacking robots, 3D food printers, POS systems, and food waste monitoring systems. Startups in the category serve either restaurant or retail environments, and sometimes both.
Chine would be wrong to invade Taïwan
My beef with George Monbiot
Many, many people have forwarded me the latest piece by George Monbiot (in The Guardian, London I believe - GW) and asked me to comment, so here it is.
At first, I felt incredibly frustrated because Robb Wolf and I address his worldview in our book, Sacred Cow – and this really is a battle of worldviews.
George is of the view that nature (wild animals) is more important than human livelihoods and our nutritional status… and that uprooting people who live in rural communities, dishonoring their way of life and food culture, and testing unproven food like substances on them all in an effort to preserve wilderness is perfectly noble.
Robb and I on the other hand believe that sustainable regional food systems that take the local environment, human nutrition, food culture, and economy into account are the right path forward.
I see no discussion of food sovereignty in Monbiot’s plan, and in fact I see him as incredibly dangerous to the billions of humans on the planet who rely on the nutrients in meat and on livestock for their economic survival. It shocks me that The Guardian gives him so much airtime, or that anybody actually takes him seriously.
In his most recent advertisement for his book, George has published another article in The Guardian – a publication which has taken money from animal rights groups to produce anti-meat editorial, certainly questioning journalistic integrity. He claims that organic and grass-fed beef and lamb are the WORST possible farm products.
>>> Let’s break this down.
First of all, I get how people like and listen to George. He seems like an expert and has a simple solution to cleanse our souls of the very food which has sustained us for 3.5 million years, yet causes immense guilt in many people today. Add in the climate change question, and the simple solution – let’s just eliminate them all – seems like the magic bullet.
The problem is, he has zero education or experience in agriculture at all. He also has no education or experience in nutrition or on the topic of food equity.
In his article, he claims that the land use of grazing animals is inefficient compared to arable crops, yet he fails to mention that the majority of our agricultural land on the planet is ONLY suitable to grazing animals. This is because it’s either too rocky, hilly, dry or otherwise unsuitable to arable farming.
This oversimplification and complete omission of the facts invalidates a large portion of his argument resulting in unethical journalism – and he should know this.
Wolf depredations plague Oregon producers this month
ODFW has reported 13 wolf depredations on livestock. Two occurred last week by OR103 in Klamath County on a private land allotment in Doak Mountain.
ODFW estimated a wolf population of about 175 as of winter 2021. Numbers are subject to change based on evidence collected over the winter. Current non-lethal measures recommended and in practice to manage wolf-livestock conflicts are to reduce attractants such as bone piles or carcasses, erect barriers such as flandry or fencing used to deter wolves, livestock protection dogs, and hazing methods such as deploying range riders, hazers, or herders. The department also lists human presence and changes to husbandry as non-lethal control methods.
After over a half-century of absence, the gray wolf’s reintroduction to Oregon has been an issue of contempt amongst livestock producers and wolf proponents. The impact of wolf presence on livestock is still under debate, as producers argue that wolves pose threats through livestock depredation, but stress on stock, loss in gains, and the loss of income beyond just one single animal.
Low unemployment rate: no US recession
A first thought for today
I hate with a murderous hatred those men who, having lived their youth, would send into war other youth, not lived, unfulfilled, to fight and die for them; the pride and cowardice of those old men, making their wars that boys must die.
Mary Roberts RINEHART, novelist (1876-1958)
A second thought for today
It has always seemed absurd to suppose that a god would choose for his companions, during all eternity, the dear souls whose highest and only ambition is to obey.
Robert Green INGERSOLL, lawyer and orator (1833-1899)
A third thought for today
If an animal does something, we call it instinct; if we do the same thing for the same reason, we call it intelligence.
Will CUPPY, journalist (1884-1949)
Less researches about 'recession'
From 300,000 rabbits to none: a Southern Ocean island is reborn
Invasive species on islands: Macquarie Island, a Unesco world heritage site, was being eaten alive until an ambitious eradication programme restored it.
Little haymakers, by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)
Why thinking hard makes us feel tired
It’s not just in your head: a desire to curl up on the couch after a day spent toiling at the computer could be a physiological response to mentally demanding work, according to a study that links mental fatigue to changes in brain metabolism.
The study found that participants who spent more than six hours working on a tedious and mentally taxing assignment had higher levels of glutamate — an important signalling molecule in the brain.
Too much glutamate can disrupt brain function, and a rest period could allow the brain to restore proper regulation of the molecule, the authors note.
Reapers, by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)
US abortion restrictions: seven charts show impacts
In June, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ruling that the constitution does not confer the right to an abortion.
Now, 13 states have greatly restricted access to the procedure, and about a dozen more are expected to follow suit. Health researchers are scrambling to predict the effects of such changes. Most expect that abortions will continue to happen, but will be harder to obtain legally — sometimes requiring extensive travel — and could become less safe.
Here, Nature's news team presents seven charts that show the potential impact of abortion restrictions on pregnant people. Among these charts:
US Railroad Rise
Expensive water in California
Centers of Progress: Houston (Spaceflight)
Many people consider the moon landing to be among humanity's greatest achievements. It was certainly our most impressive feat of exploration.
Neil and Buzz tend to get the credit for the expedition, but behind every brave astronaut was a team of engineers, scientists, and mathematicians based in Houston, our 39th Center of Progress.
Refrigerator Abundance, by Gale Pooley
You can get 13.23 refrigerators today for the time price of one in 1956.
An advertisement for a 1956 refrigerator has been circulating on social media, with thousands of people claiming it is superior to the fridges available today. As often happens, the truth is more complicated.
Whether you're buying a discount appliance or a top-of-the-line French door, refrigerators have become far more abundant since 1956.
Red America is green
Stock prices vs incomes evolution
Robotic arms are becoming cheaper
An AI Index survey shows that the median price of robotic arms has decreased by 46.2% in the past five years—from $42,000 per arm in 2017 to $22,600 in 2021. Robotics research has become more accessible and affordable.
The Elo score is a way to measure one's skill at the game of Chess. The score is recalculated after every game, with the winning player taking points from the losing one.
In 2014, Magnus Carlsen achieved a score of 2882, the highest human score ever recorded.
According to Stanford's Artificial Intelligence Index, the best chess software engine in 2021 surpassed Carlsen's core by 24.3 percent.
Sons of the Land, by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)
Britain’s path to economic and national renewal is the genome revolution, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 19 August 2022
UK could become the ‘Silicon Valley of global genomics’.
he best economic investment that Britain can make over this parliament and the next is to sequence the genomes of the entire population, becoming the first major country in the world to break the health barrier. There lies national renewal and the GDP accelerator.
It would open the way to precision medicine for everybody as a matter of routine, with a high probability that it would slash the long-term costs of the NHS and reverse the current trajectory of an overwhelmed service heading for break-down.
“We have got a fabulous future. We have only scratched the surface of what the whole genome can offer,” said Professor Sir Mark Caulfield, ex-chief scientist at Genomics England, now at Queen Mary University.
It would cut debilitating sickness among those of working age, and extend the span of employment, with knock-on benefits for pension solvency and the national savings rate. I cannot think of any other outlay by the British state with such a high economic multiplier and with so many spin-off benefits.
Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough Confirmed: California Team Achieved Ignition, by Jess Thomson, 8/12/2022
A major breakthrough in nuclear fusion has been confirmed a year after it was achieved at a laboratory in California
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL's) National Ignition Facility (NIF) recorded the first case of ignition on August 8, 2021, the results of which have now been published in three peer-reviewed papers.
Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the Sun and other stars: heavy hydrogen atoms collide with enough force that they fuse together to form a helium atom, releasing large amounts of energy as a by-product. Once the hydrogen plasma "ignites", the fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining, with the fusions themselves producing enough power to maintain the temperature without external heating.
American Airlines Places Deposit on 20 Supersonic Planes
American Airlines says it has agreed to buy up to 20 supersonic jets that are still on the drawing board and years away from flying.
Annual CO2 emissions from cement
Human Devolpment Index
Climate change: The massive CO2 emitter you may not know about, by Lucy Rodgers, BBC News, 17 December 2018
Concrete is the most widely used man-made material in existence. It is second only to water as the most-consumed resource on the planet.
But, while cement - the key ingredient in concrete - has shaped much of our built environment, it also has a massive carbon footprint.
Cement is the source of about 8% of the world's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to think tank Chatham House.
If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world - behind China and the US. It contributes more CO2 than aviation fuel (2.5%) and is not far behind the global agriculture business (12%).
Zoonotic spillover happening more frequently
China battles extreme heat and drought
China has issued a national drought alert in the face of a record-breaking heatwave, which has lasted two months. As many as 66 rivers across 34 counties in the southwestern region of Chongqing have dried up, reports Reuters via state broadcaster CCTV. Drought has affected agriculture and caused power shortages in areas reliant on hydroelectric sources. Regional authorities have launched ‘cloud seeding’ efforts, which aim to stimulate rainfall by firing silver iodide rods into clouds. State forecasters predict that the heatwave could start to abate on 26 August, reports Reuters.
The Mowers, by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)
Green steel production: How G7 countries can help change the global landscape.
- Steel production accounts for 8% of total global CO2 emissions. Emissions from steel production must decrease for industry to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and for countries to deliver on the commitments made in the Paris Agreement.
- The steel production landscape is changing: seven out of the ten biggest steel producing countries have initiated at least one green steel project, according to the Green Steel Tracker. So far, the projects are concentrated in economic regions with ambitious climate reduction targets.
- G7 governments should accelerate the ongoing change process by coordinating policies to create markets for green steel, pool and scale-up investments in research and development, deploy and scale-up green steel projects and increase investment in multilateral funds dedicated to industrial decarbonization.
Uniwave®, a new energy source?
The Wave Swell Energy (WSE) technology is based on the well-established concept of the oscillating water column (OWC).
The OWC is an artificial blowhole consisting of a chamber that is open underneath the waterline. As waves pass the OWC, the water rises and falls inside, forcing the air to pass by a turbine at the top of the chamber. This turbine generates electricity.
Previous OWC technologies have all been bidirectional. The WSE technology, however, operates unidirectionally. This results in the WSE turbine being simpler, more robust and reliable, and exhibiting a higher energy conversion efficiency. The only moving parts in the technology are the turbine and bespoke valves, all of which are well above the water line. There are no moving parts in or below the water.
The Old Reaper, by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)
Chuck Norris jokes (the 10 first ones)
Most believe the Chuck Norris jokes trend originated from an episode of the popular television show, Walker, Texas Ranger, where Chuck Norris says: “You’re just jealous because you’re not as cool as me.” Though nobody knows for certain, all we know is that they're epic. Here are 50 of the best Chuck Norris jokes.
Disclaimer: it would be wise to laugh while reading this post, Chuck Norris will be watching. He is ALWAYS watching…
>>> Hereafter, the ten first ones
1. Chuck Norris hates ties, that’s why when he wears a tie, it’s not called tie. It’s called a win.
2. There is no theory of evolution. There are just species that didn’t get on the wrong side of Chuck Norris… and species that did.
3. The universe is not expanding, it got on the wrong side of Chuck Norris and has been running ever since.
4. Chuck Norris doesn’t read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
5. In the beginning, there was nothing. Then Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked nothing, and the universe was born.
6. If Chuck Norris travelled to an alternate dimension and fought an alternate version of himself, they would both win.
7. Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked someone so hard, his foot broke the speed of light, went back in time, and kicked the guy before he was born.
8. Time waits for no man. But always waits for Chuck Norris.
9. Chuck Norris died twenty years ago, it’s just death has not yet built up the courage to tell him.
10. When death comes knocking on your door, normal people have a near death experience. When death comes knocking on Chuck Norris’s door, death has a Chuck Norris experience.
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