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Über dieses Buch

This book examines the possibility of automating pasture care by fusing conventional technologies with modern sensor technologies, including the accompanying electrification. It subsequently explores the feasibility and benefits of such a system on the basis of a prototype.
The overall challenge in fodder production, and in milk and meat production, is to shift the focus away from the economic aspects and toward achieving a better balance with ecological and societal aspects. In the future, pastureland will become an increasingly valuable resource. Good pasture turf is the basis of high grazing performance and an efficient grazing farm; reduced quantity and quality of pasture forage are chiefly due to insufficient pasture care.
The prototype developed and discussed here, based on a commercially available remote-controlled mulcher, performs the selective pasture maintenance needed for precision farming. The vehicle has been upgraded with a GPS system for automatic guidance, while a 2D laser scanner is used to localise relevant spots in real-time. The pasture maintenance operations include mulching of un-grazed spots and reseeding of damage done by footsteps. The book presents the results of field tests on effective spot detection and the fuel-saving benefits of selective mulching.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Importance of pasture grassland and its careful maintenance

Abstract
This chapter gives the reader background information about the global situation and trends of the livestock farming sector. Furthermore the role of pasture grazing in livestock farming is described and the overall challenge in fodder production or secondarily milk and meat production is illustrated. Finally, the role of pasture maintenance regarding to grazing performance and efficiency is explained.
Benjamin Seiferth

Chapter 2. State of the art on grazing farms and the trend of automation in agriculture

Abstract
Similar to the advancements being made in industry, the current trend towards automation and data exchange is also present in agriculture. The idea is not to fully replace the human as operator, but to separate the operation and the operating process locally or rather temporally. In this chapter the reader gets information about the state of the art on grazing farms. Concrete examples of automated applications in agriculture are presented.
Benjamin Seiferth

Chapter 3. Added value of pasture grazing by automated pasture care

Abstract
This chapter summarizes the chapter 1 and 2 and describes the resulting task - the fusion of conventional and enabling technologies for automation of pasture care operations.
Benjamin Seiferth

Chapter 4. Potential technologies for the automation of pasture care

Abstract
This chapter is dedicated to potential technologies for the automation of pasture care. The focus is on sensors which are already in use in agricultural applications. Among others, examples for the navigation based on the Global Positioning System (GPS), automation solutions based on laser scanners and cameras are presented. At the end of this chapter the advantages and disadvantages of the presented sensor technologies are listed.
Benjamin Seiferth

Chapter 5. Requirements for automation of pasture care by a mobile machine

Abstract
In the following chapter the requirements for automation of pasture care are defined. The grazing system and the general process are regarded. The performance of pasture care automation is determined by using a model of a grazing farm. The constraints of the spot detection, the mulching and seeding process are examined more closely. Requirements for the mobility of the automated pasture care machine, especially the vehicle control and navigation, as well the chassis are specified. Finally, the potential approach for automation of pasture care is presented and all requirements are listed.
Benjamin Seiferth

Chapter 6. Evaluation, selection and development of components

Abstract
This chapter presents the selected hardware components, especially the mobile platform, the sensor for vehicle navigation, the implements for mulching and seeding as well as the sensor solution for spot detection. With regard to the latter, installation and operational parameters of the sensor are mentioned, results of preliminary studies are presented and algorithms for spot detection are defined.
Benjamin Seiferth

Chapter 7. Modeling the machine

Abstract
The focus in this chapter is on the modelling of the machine. Both the vehicle model and the model of the processes mulching and seeding are presented.
Benjamin Seiferth

Chapter 8. Development of machine control

Abstract
In this chapter the developed machine control is explained. First the basic system control architecture is described. Then the control of the vehicle guidance is explained. The last two paragraphs deal with the control of the processes mulching and seeding. In particular, timing and energy-saving aspects are considered.
Benjamin Seiferth

Chapter 9. Evaluation of the developed machine under real conditions

Abstract
This chapter contains results of field tests. First the accuracy of the vehicle guidance is evaluated. Moreover the spot detection is analysed and correlations between setting parameters and error rate are shown. Finally, the economy and productivity of the developed machine are analysed. The constraints for fuel-saving effects in regard to selective mulching are shown.
Benjamin Seiferth

Chapter 10. Summary and outlook

Abstract
The last chapter summarizes the content of this thesis, presents key conclusions and gives an outlook into the future.
Benjamin Seiferth

Backmatter

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