SUSA Project for connected, quality seeding
The outcomes of the SUSA Project - Smart Universal Seeding Appliance - a research project which has led to the development of a system for precision seeding that can optimize the work process, were submitted at an online meeting last July 15, after field tests and data analysis. The system - which assesses environmental and technical conditions in real-time using IoT (Internet of Things) technologies - was implemented using funding from the 2014-2020 POR FESR Call for Proposals and cost over 490 thousand euros, of which 192 thousand were funded. The sowing process affects the quantity and quality of agricultural production and consequently the profitability of primary farms.
Adjusting the activity, it is possible to optimize the initial resources and the efficacy of the subsequent treatments, thus limiting the use of water resources and fertilizers, also from a sustainable point of view. The project has led to the development of a seeding machine. A universal seeding sensor kit (the most crucial element in modern seeding machines) and accessories for mounting along the seeding tube; a seeding control unit can read/control a certain number of rows giving the operator on the tractor accurate information on the seeding process in progress. Both the ECU and sensor are connected to a centralized system that records process variables, processes the information and provides guidance for optimizing seeding activity. The different data are then available and usable in the cloud for anyone involved in the processing.
The three companies participating in the project in collaboration with the Dafnae department (Department of Agronomy, Animals, Food, Natural Resources and Environment) of the University of Padua as research organizations are: Ynnova Srl, a mechatronic engineering company of the Arag Group specialized in the development of IoT technologies and systems, which provides manufacturers of machinery and components for the agricultural sector and other industrial sectors with 4.0 tools; Orto4 Srl, born from the union of the engineering and horticultural sectors, which offers a wide range of products with innovative functions for farms of all sizes that cultivate in the open field and greenhouses; Cultiva Società Agricola O.P. Consortile, an agricultural business which has been operating on a global level (Italy, UK and USA) in the fresh-cut sector since 1987, investing in research and development to ensure product quality. Paolo Carletti at Dafnae was the project's scientific coordinator.