85855 - Agricultural Machines For Sustainable Crop Protection And Precisione Farming

Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Agricultural Sciences and Technologies (cod. 9235)

Learning outcomes

The student will have a good knowledge on machines for field crops, orchards and vines protection to understand the main principles of crop spraying and the adoption of methods in alternative to pesticide application. Organic farming and precision farming principles and machines are evaluated to analyze methods addressed to improve plant nutrition and protection in view to preserve the soil water and to protect the environment.  Studens will be able to select the agricultural machines  with respect to the environmental sustainability of agricultural production and the safety of agricultural operators.

Course contents

The course consists of 10 teaching units.

1) Tractors and tractor implement linkage. Safety of tractor driver in normal operation inf field. (8 hours)

2) Classification of sprayers. Orchards and vineyards sprayers. Spray distribution systems: air-assisted, pneumatic, rotary. Pumps, regulators, dosing systems. (4 hours)

3) Physics of liquid particles. Liquid drops generation. Drops classification and measurement. (4 hours)

4) Constant pressure spray application. Spray application proportional to forward speed. Systems for drift control. (2 hours)

5) Spray volumes and pesticides dosing spray mixtures. Setting and calibration of sprayers. (6 hours)

6) Sprayer checks and controls: rules for design, marketing and maintenance of new production sprayers and for the certification of in use machines. (4 hours)

7) Crop protection in organic farming. Specialized machine

(4 hours)

8) Introduction to precision farming. (2 hours)

9) Machines and systems for precision farming (8 hours)

10) The ISOBUS  as connection between tractor and implements. (4 hours)



Copies of PowerPoint presentations with references to specific papers and publications are provided during the lectures.

Following texts are also recommended

L.Bodria, G. Pellizzi, P. Piccarolo - Meccanica agraria, Volume I, Il trattore e le macchine operatrici - Edagricole
Capitolo 1. Classificazione delle macchine agricole, Capitolo 3. Il trattore.

D. Vannucci - Macchine per la difesa delle piante - Edagricole

C. Baldoin – Irroratrici. Scelta, manutenzione ed uso in campo. Edagricole

Edagricole-New Business Media - Agricoltura di precisione: metodi e tecnologie per migliorare l’efficienza e la sostenibilità dei sistemi colturali - curatore: R. Casa.

Ajit K. Srivastava, Carroll E. Goering, Roger P. Rohrbach, Dennis R. Buckmaster- Engineering Principles of agricultural machines 2nd Edition– ASABE St. Joseph, Michigan

Teaching methods

The course is structured on frontal lectures (46 hours) to explain the fundamentals of tractor-sprayer hitching, sprayers and the management of crop treatments, the correct use of pesticides and the proper adjustment and maintenance of the machines. Safety requirements with respect to a sustainable protection are proposed.Machines and methods for crop protection in organic farming are considerd. Similarly principles, methods and machines in precision farming are evaluated, mainly in the crop protection.Lectures are associated to lab exercises (14 hours) on sprayer performance evaluation, setting and calibration, safety components of machinery. Guided visits to the Laboratorio di Meccanica Agraria di Cadriano, to manufacturing companies of sprayers and to farms specialised in organin farming and in precision crop management are also provided.

Assessment methods

The evaluation of the course takes into account the level of knowledge and skills acquired by the student.

The assessment consists of an oral examination to assess the critical and methodological skills of the student, the organic vision of the subjects and the specific language.

Teaching tools

PowerPoint presentations and techical videos

Office hours

See the website of Valda Rondelli


Zero hunger Good health and well-being Affordable and clean energy Climate Action

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.