A team of scientists led by a horticulture professor who leads a pome fruit (apples and pears) breeding program, found that public plant breeding programs are seeing decreases in funding and personnel.
Global changes in land use are disrupting the balance of wild animal communities in our environment, and species that carry diseases known to infect humans appear to be benefiting, finds a new UCL-led study. The findings, published in Nature, may have implications for future spillovers of diseases originating in animal hosts. The research team, led by the UCL Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research, studied evidence from 6,801 ecological communities from six continents, and found that animals known to carry pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) that can infect humans were more common in landscapes intensively used by people. The evidence was sourced from a dataset of 184 studies incorporating close to 7,000 species, 376 of which are known to carry human-shared pathogens.
Nestlé, the world's largest food company, is known for scandal. It earned the nickname "babykiller" in the 1970s for causing infant illness and death in low-income communities by promoting bottle feeding of its infant formula and discouraging breast feeding. In recent years, similar charges have been made against the company for contributing to soaring rates of obesity and diabetes in poor communities by targeting them for sales of ultra-processed junk foods. But there's another scandal of equally grim proportions that is contained within the company's accounting sheets. On April 23, 2020, with the world in the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic and the FAO warning of a looming global food crisis, Nestlé's shareholders and executives awarded themselves a record dividend payout of US$8 billion. In a time of a global health and food crisis, this handout is worth more than the entire annual budget for the UN’s World Food Programme and would be enough to cover the average annual expenditures on health care for more than 100 million people in Africa.
BayWa公司和瓦赫宁根大学研究了如何将太阳能组件在农田上的使用成功地与各种浆果的种植相结合。BayWa公司正在加强其在欧洲的农用光伏（AgriPV）系统的建设。继欧洲最大的AgriPV系统在荷兰Babberich的树莓农场完成后，接下来的四个项目正在规划中。 农田上的太阳能组件 该公司计划与荷兰瓦赫宁根大学合作，研究如何将农田上的太阳能电池组件与各种浆果栽培成功地结合起来。 BayWa公司表示，通过在农业土地上“加盖屋顶”，农民可以保护作物免受气候变化导致的极端天气条件的影响，同时还可以通过生产绿色电力为气候保护和脱碳做出贡献。该公司表示，这种对于土地的双重利用（种植粮食和发电）具有巨大的潜力，尤其是对于永久性水果和葡萄酒作物。 在一块3.2公顷的树莓田上安装了10250个太阳能组件 BayWa与荷兰下属公司GroenLeven合作建造的Babberich AgriPV公园的发电量为2.7MWp，在一块3.2公顷的树莓田上由10,250个太阳能组件组成。这些模块产生的能量可为大约1,250户家庭提供绿色电力，同时树莓在它们下面生长，充分利用了土地。 半透明型太阳能组件 在这个项目中，BayWa公司开发了一种半透明的太阳能组件，它可以让树莓作物获得足够的光线，同时保护它们不受极端天气的影响，包括冰雹、暴雨和太阳直射。 直到最近，荷兰Babberich树莓农场的经理Piet Albers还一直依靠由保护膜制成的传统通道来保证作物安全。通道必须每六年定期拆除和清理一次。AgriPV现在正在帮助农民节省时间和金钱，同时减少浪费。 传感器监测作物健康和水果生长 作为另外四个AgriPV项目的一部分，正在研究太阳能组件对其他种类浆果（例如，红加仑、蓝莓、黑莓或草莓）的影响。利用传感器监测太阳能组件下的气候、作物健康和水果生长情况。 BayWa公司表示，他还与苹果和梨生产商合作开发其他试点项目。其目的是在欧洲进一步推广AgriPV的使用，并证明诸如此类的创新有助于提高水果质量、减少水分蒸发和降低水果种植的生产成本。
全球室内农业技术迎来全新升级，无人化再次突破人类对未来农业种植的想象。中科三安无人化垂直室内农业生产系统 UPLIFT 来了！它通过无人化种植产线、数字生产系统和超高空间扩展，正式开启智能垂直农场时代！ 美国市场研究与咨询公司 Grand View Research 对垂直农场分析报告显示，预计 2025年，全球垂直农业市场将达到99亿美元。 目前，全球室内农业的发展已进入跑道式栽培系统与模块式栽培系统并存发展时代，却因自身劳动密集型特点，导致蔬菜植物生产人力成本较高。 UPLIFT 通过精细调控作物播种、育苗、分栽、采收等重要工序，轻松实现“种子进去蔬菜出来”。经开发验证，一套占地5000㎡标准系统，可规划高达20层植物生长室，每天可以产出蔬菜6-8吨，较传统栽培技术蔬菜产量提升近百倍。 UPLIFT 不仅提供了产业规模化全年高效种植，使用的全新节水技术，使得60%水可以生产成蔬菜，其余40%水可再循环继续利用，为将来在沙漠缺水的地区和国家部署奠定了基础。 种植无人化是未来 人工智能为复杂的室内农业提供简单的解决方案。 UPLIFT 无人化种植产线，可根据种植者需求选择作物品种，依托机器人、穿梭机、人工智能升降设备等，实现播种、分栽、采收、清洗等工序自动化，并具备多任务调度、实时巡检等协同作业能力。 为突破室内农业空间利用局限，实现高层种植无人化，中科三安自主研发创新机器人分栽、穿梭机采收等一系列新蔬菜植物栽培技术，已全面替代传统人工高强度分栽、高负荷采收搬运等操作，不仅降低人工劳动强度，更高效节省种植人力成本。 数字管理精准种植 UPLIFT 研发团队自主研发数字化植物栽培管理系统 “Plant Keeper”，具备独立的数据存储与分析运算能力，帮助种植者实现环境控制与调节、光周期控制与调节、生长数据的采集与分析等。 依靠导入的专家数据库，可为种植者提供从播种到采收全种植周期的任务时间，并进行全程栽培管理。在省去人工管理、人工记录、人工计算的同时，提高植物栽培的准确性，提升栽培车间的科学化管理，实现种子进去蔬菜出来的无人化管理。 种植空间向超高层扩展 基于无人化种植和数字生产系统管理技术，UPLIFT 通过特制智能栽培层架，将植物照明 LED 光源系统和营养液循环系统内置于种植架中，由此突破传统蔬菜植物工厂低层数（通常低于6层）问题，已具备将栽培层数增加到24层以上的栽培技术。 目前，UPLIFT完成为期两年的测试并具备商业运行能力，现已正式向全球种植者开放，可依据建筑空间提供整体定制设计，帮助种植者实现全年工业规模生产绿叶蔬菜。
The UGV’s can replace a heavy tractor vehicle with a human operator with a smaller, unmanned machine. New Zealand’s Robotics Plus is beta testing three new Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV‘s) to demonstrate the application of its technology in several environments. The UGV’s allow growers to replace a heavy tractor vehicle with a human operator with a smaller, unmanned, more agile machine. Robotics Plus UGV based on modular technology The concept of the UGV’s is based on modular technology. The unmanned ground vehicles will be able to navigate their way through orchards and fields, says Steven Saunders, Co-Founder and Board Chairman of Robotics Plus. “They use sensors to map the environment so they can get close to plants without damaging them. We created a central smart black box which does all the navigation and has all the technology needed for driving the electric motor.” The black box can go on any size platform. “If you use an autonomous vehicle and you have wine grapes, you‘ve got very narrow rows” Mr Saunders points out. “An apple orchard has wider rows. We have to be able to adapt to any row spacing or load.” For the applications Robotics Plus partners with experts in each field. “You can attach a sprayer, a fertiliser spreader, a cutter, or a pollinator. We don’t want to make all those applications but we can automate them. But in the case of non-existing technology – like picking apples or kiwifruit – we create that solution from scratch.” Smaller tasks in broadacre In broadacre the UGV’s of Robotics Plus could play a role in carrying out smaller tasks in the future. “Broadacre is very much dominated by the big players like John Deere, New Holland and Trimble”, says Mr Saunders. “They are all working on big automated solutions. We are more interested in smaller tasks in broadacre that big machines can’t do. Scouting for example. And robots can do soil and nutrient readings or take samples. Or you can have drones flying over broadacre fields, recognising a small pest outbreak and then let a robot deal with this small infestation.” Specialty crops market At the moment Robotics plus is focusing on the specialty crops market. “That’s an area, where there has not been enough attention for. Now that labour is becoming a global issue, from the perspective of availability and cost, this market is very interesting for us.” The commercial release of the UGV is planned in late 2021. According to Mr Saunders new projects take a lot of money and time because of the complexity of different environments. “That’s one of the biggest challenges. A robot in a factory knows what’s coming, but a robot in an orchard has to deal with sun, rain, mud, long grass, it has to identify a grape vine or a kiwifruit vine, it is very complicated.” In the near future Robotics Plus would like to put together a global consortium of farmers, producers and industry bodies. “If you got the biggest asparagus growers in the US, New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Europe to collaborate on harvesting for example, you could see some new technologies really being developed out”, says Mr Saunders. Steven Saunders is himself a New Zealand grower and owner of a large kiwifruit packhouse with 30 years of experience in the horticulture industry “Back in 2008 I was looking at how technology could play a role in the future of horticulture”, Mr Saunders explains. “That’s when I found my co-founder Dr Alistair Scarfe. I supported him through his PhD for five years, developing an autonomous vehicle that could pick kiwifruit.” Fruit harvesting robot The fruit picker enabled the company to demonstrate that it could build an autonomous vehicle that was able to navigate through an orchard and harvest fruit. Mr Saunders: “We have not yet commercialised our fruit harvesting robot. At the moment other companies are focusing on this.” Cooperation with Yamaha May 2018. In the same year Robotics Plus received a total of USD$ 10 million investment funds from Japan’s Yamaha Motor Co. to support further growth plans. “They also bring years and years of design and manufacturing experience,” Mr Saunders explains. “Some of the technology in our robots has been manufactured by Yamaha. We adopt a very collaborative model.” Robotics Plus has a team of more than 60 people, with 80% being specialist in their field. The robots are manufactured in the factory of the company in Whakamarama, a horticultural area of New Zealand, about 200 kilometres south of Auckland. The company has recently been named in the THRIVE Top 50, an annual ranking of leading global agtech companies. It was the only New Zealand company to make the 2020 Top 50 ranking and just one of five companies featured in the Robotics & Automation category.