landlogics

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Archive for the ‘Agri-Tech Catalog’ Category

Agri-Tech Catalog: grain elevator

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The hybrid building-machine that inspired a generation of designers...

Like the tractor, one of the most influential agricultural inventions is the ‘modern’ grain-elevator. Despite varying in physical form/construction these structures would generally all house the mechanisms to receive, weigh, grade, separate, store, clean, and redistribute bio-material. The consolidation of these various functions in one efficient place forever changed farms and agriculture by re-wiring the method in which bio-material was moved. Any construction or technical changes that would  increase efficiency or scale immediately affected the surrounding farming enterprises in an elevator’s catchment area.

Before, the technology of elevators allowed them to serve a greater catchment area (and thus contributed to larger consolidated farms) these ‘sentinels’ defined an era in agriculture and agrarian settlement, most notably in the towns where many elevators were erected.

Famous Elevator Row (Inglis, Manitoba Canada) - verlo.ca, these 25,000 bushel elevators lined early agrarian towns

Originally the location of these structures was based on a delicate balance between a large enough volume of bio-material to warrant a rail line and a given distance a farmer could travel, today’s elevators can reach mega sizes that best fit larger farm operations.

One of the 'World's Largest' grain elevators - Hutchinson, Kansas USA

On a design level, these hybrid-machine-buildings once dubbed ‘Prairie Sentinels’ were also very influential, inspiring an entire generation of designers interested in exploring a functional/engineering aesthetic.

In our current ‘age of crisis’ (for example crisis in agriculture, food security, and ecology) one might wonder what the new ‘elevator’/silo would do, how it would work, and subsequently what impacts that would have on design professions. Might the new elevator trigger a new ‘modernism’?

Some excellent resources on grain elevators can be found on a variety of Canadian Heritage Websites:

The Canadian Encyclopedia

Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan

Verlo (photos)

National Film Board (video)

Written by Matthew

February 22nd, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Agri-Tech Catalog: automatic milking system

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Technology providing both dairy-farmer and cow flexibility and opportunity in milking cycles.

One of my favorite agricultural technologies is the Automated Milking System (AMS); initially developed by Dutch dairy-farmers seeking ways to grant both themselves and their cows with the flexibility to work on their own schedules (as opposed to traditional farming which keeps animals confined and on a tight production schedule, taxing for both farmers and cows alike), the technology has now entered a phase of globally competitive development.

The technology is referred to as a system because it actually changes the logistics and organization of a dairy parlor.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matthew

September 22nd, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Agri-Tech Calatog: tractor II

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Let's imagine a new array of 'implements' produced by artists and ecologists able to transform the tractor into experience machines.

The tractor’s conquest of America Part II. Along our recent tour of the United States, I was amazed at the degree of tractor use! Basically, the only other major piece of equipment I have seen throughout the agricultural landscapes has been the Self-Propelled Sprayer.  Of course the fleet of vehicle types one would find across agricultural landscapes depends entirely on the season and crop type, but despite our shift from region to region (starting on the West Coast and now in the Midwest) the presence of the tractor is everywhere, for it seems like any task.  The PTO (Power Take Off) is a huge reason for the tractors conquest across America, a system in the power-train of a tractor that allows additions ‘implements’ to a tractor to receive power from the engine.

One of the most interesting points about the PTO is that it has been universally standardized by the ISO, meaning that regardless of your tractor type the PTO is going to be universally designed to adapt to any third party plug-in ‘implement’.  This could be quite an opportunity for two scenarios of rethinking our current agricultural practice:

1. We can design different power-trains or ‘tractor’ like machines that can deliver power sources to a field, perhaps smaller such as in medium-sized agricultural landscape projects (closer to cities).

2. We can design an incredibly diverse range of ‘implements’ that can be used by the huge existing armada of tractors across not just American but worldwide agricultural projects.  Let’s think about designing an implement that can restore landscapes, or as it may need to irrigate/mist crops produce rainbows.  If we are going to have tractors lets give them some new capabilities knowing that a whole fleet of them and farmers world wide can tap into a common implement.  Instead of tractor pulls there could be implement tournaments with a display of wild and productive effects!

Rainbow produced over the UN building in New York (Rainbow Maker's World)

Written by Matthew

August 17th, 2010 at 5:00 am

Agri-Tech Catalog: self-propelled sprayer

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Agri-Tech Catalog: self-propelled sprayer

The self-propelled sprayer has an interesting history of advertisement attached to it,  representing one of the most advertised agricultural piece of equipment I have come across (it has some of the most YouTube video coverage…great to watch those arms unfold).  I wonder if that is because there is a lot of competition arising on the mode of pesticide delivery both from pragmatic (as debated on technical forums) and health concerned voices .

Although not directly related to the debate of efficiency or health, I find the device interesting from a spatial point of view…if perhaps modified the vehicle would be a great ‘ceiling machine) ever been under some of those huge trucks? Obviously there will need to be some serious reconsiderations as to what the delivery method of the pesticide will be, but who knows maybe it could be a useful irrigation technique…a raining mobile ceiling.

NOTE: If you want to know how to read the Agri-Tech Catalog please look at the FORMAT post.

Written by Matthew

April 26th, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Agri-Tech Catalog: snow maker

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Agri-Tech Catalog: snow maker

NOTE: If you want to know how to read the Agri-Tech Catalog please look at the FORMAT post.

Written by Matthew

April 26th, 2010 at 2:58 am

Agri-Tech Catalog: rake

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Agri-Tech Catalog: rake

Here is a simple yet fundamental agri-tool, the rake. One of the very first agricultural tools ever employed in order to “harrow” (or lightly cultivate the surface of the soil). This enabled some of the first farmers to plant seeds in areas that were not originally conducive to supporting plant life.

NOTE: If you want to know how to read the Agri-Tech Catalog please look at the FORMAT post.

Written by Matthew

April 25th, 2010 at 8:05 pm

AV bird deterrent: scary advertisement

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undated DAZON B.V. advertisement

Here is an interesting image I found while researching the “Bird Cannons”:

A real glorified triumph over nature’s pests for the protection of our crops…look how scared the rabbits are!

The image is courtesy: Pérez, Yuste. Handbook of Agriculture. Marcel Dekker Inc. 270 Madison Avenue. New York, NY USA. 2000


Another note on bird-deterrents, some companies/associations are taking are planning to become very precise in their species deterrence strategies, where they want their systems to smartly identify a bird-type and apply an appropriate counter measure.  Sounds a lot like a fusion between Agriculture and Air-Defense! I wonder if there there would be a renewed interest or strengthened effort in cataloging and identifying birds with this direction the industry is thinking about, perhaps a collaborative effort to help overall identification and behaviors? Great bird I.D. site! Again…maybe specific pests can become really useful once we know enough about them.

Written by Matthew

April 25th, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Agri-Tech Catalog: AV bird deterrent

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Agri-Tech Catalog: AV bird deterrent

Due to the increasingly “resistant” aerial pests (aka birds) that threaten crops a number of automatic deterrents have been developed over the past 50 years.  One of the most popular is the “Bird Cannon” which creates a small propane based explosion emitting a large scary sound.  Some of the most popular models can be seen at Birdbusters or ZonBirdCannon. However, what this model “The Razzo” does is combine an audio and visual deterrent without positioning the explosion towards the direction of the bird (and potentially kill it) …rather it contains the explosion in an upward direction which doubles as the ‘lift’ for the visual “dummy”.

However, Scare-Cannons as they are sometimes referred to are still controversial especially as suburban developments encroach near farm lands.

Perhaps there are new ways to think of a pest-deterrent that will not scare people at the same time…or even better would be to think about how these devices would not “deter” but rather coordinate or control pests for productive use and become architecturally designed…ever heard of the Persian Pigeon Towers in Isfahan, Iran?

Still, these deterrents make for interesting, dynamic elements in a field that potentially could be exploited for some other reasons.

NOTE: If you want to know how to read the Agri-Tech Catalog please look at the FORMAT post.

Written by Matthew

April 25th, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Agri-Tech Catalog: tractor

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Agri-Tech Catalog: tractor

After some initial research on Agri-Technologies it became very apparent that the introduction of the tractor marked a huge turning point in the history of Agriculture.   There are some competing opinions about the actual origin of the tractor; I have selected the time at which the “traction engine” became mobile and thus useful as a source of mobile power on the field.

The tractor represents a generic technology capable of increasing a farmers capabilities on the field through numerous add-ons or “implements” (as they are called in the industry).

In the U.S.A. the most popular brand of tractors (ranging from personal backyard work to large scale industrial farming) is John Deere.

NOTE: If you want to know how to read the Agri-Tech Catalog please look at the FORMAT post.

Written by Matthew

April 24th, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Agri-Tech Catalog – FORMAT

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Here is a first crack at what the Agri-Tech Catalog may look like. The template is a standard Letter (8 1/2″ x 11″) page size so that the catalog can be easily output as a printed reference.

Agri-Tech Catalog: Sample

As noted in my prior post, the classification-tags are important in providing a quick reference for the technology.  However, I find this is labeled more effectively as an attribute taxonomy. This taxonomy is a basic interpretation of the technology about what scale it is used on, what bio-material it is focused on operating on, what action it performs, and how it is interacted with/deployed.

Agri-Tech Catalog: Legend

Legend:

title – the popular name for the technology

global origin – where the technology was first developed

global deployment – where the technology is being used (dark = used, light = unused or N/A)

invention date - when the technology was invented (in its most recognizable state)

duration of use – how long (or during what period of time) the technology was used

attribute taxonomy – the 4-attribute classification of the technology

attribute index – a comparative reference indicating which attributes define the technology

description – a brief description of what the technology was meant for and how it is being used

annotated drawing – a drawing visually describing how the technology works towards its agri-function, a figure is included for scale reference

tags – a collection of some of the most popular keywords from a Google search of the technology name (all tags derived from Google.ca at the time of the post)

reference – the key reference of the research data

Written by Matthew

April 23rd, 2010 at 9:35 pm