An outreach for co-creation, data sharing and demonstration

Due to minimal traveling caused by Covid-19 in 2020, we invited all testbeds members to provide ideas for relevant activities, which the network could fund. Alovivum was one of the testbeds that was granted funding. Their initiative involved an outreach of the testbed for co-creation, data sharing and demonstration.

 

We got the chance to talk to Henrik Hedlund, contact person for the testbed.

Please tell us more about your testbed – what is the aim of the testbed?

– In focus for the testbed is to further develop and demonstrate intensive horticulture production, using a range of hydroculture platforms for water gardening in farm buildings. In the testbed, we design, install, operate and demonstrate different innovative cultivation platforms for indoor water gardening, using hydroculture, (i e aeroponics, fogponics and hydroponics), efficient LED lighting, optimal climate control, etc.

The testbed is located in a farm building in Gödelöv, Genarp (outside Lund, Sweden) that earlier was used as a cow stable and has a size that is ideal for R&D work and the pilots that are used for testing of indoor, hydroculture cultivation. The testbed is supported with a digital infrastructure (Yggio) that connects different equipment, sensor configurations and cultivation platforms inside the farm building (barn), to assure efficient and flexible data collection and management. This infrastructure is provided by Sensative.

The testbed is setup in a peri-urban context, which means cultivation mainly of fresh, leafy greens in empty farm buildings close to urban areas, with local supply chains, directly linking producers and consumers.

The aim of the testbed is to develop and demonstrate intensive horticulture production, using a range of configurations for water gardening and hydroculture platforms, showing metrics to evaluate and show significant improvements in horticulture, including metrics for efficiency, productivity, sustainability and profitability. In focus has been to establish well-known and standardised measures, derived from different data sources, to be able to consistently provide metrics on the performance of different cultivation methods.

The testbed’s main data structure consists of:

  • monitoring and control of sensors, environment, equipment and plants at the testbed (Gödelöv),
  • collection, surveillance and calculated nodes in the Yggio middleware (provided by Sensative),
  • analysis, metrics and models in data application(s) (greenbeds.com: SDGtoolkit, mutec.cloud, etc),
  • sharing and presentation at web sites (barngreens.com, greenbeds.com, Nordic Testbed Network web site, etc).

The datasets that are generated to address the purpose to evaluate the performance of different cultivation methods, via derived and calculated metrics, can be divided into the following data categories:

  • Environment: outdoor/weather- and indoor conditions, etc,
  • Control: cultivation platforms (water source, root- and shoot systems, climate shell, etc,
  • Plant: fresh- and dry biomass, leaf area, allocation, content, capacity, productivity, efficiency, etc,
  • Resource: electricity, heat, light, water, nutrients, base area; consumption and efficiency, etc.

In a data application (SDGtoolkit, mutec.cloud, CN, Grafana, PowerBI, etc) several operations can be made on the original datasets and time series:

  • detection, classification and checks of errors in data,
  • normalisation of data for more aggregated and generic comparisons,
  • substituting data values and units, given accurate calibrations,
  • baselines for data,
  • statistical analysis on data,
  • mathematical operations on data (e g calculated nodes) to provide derived data and metrics,
  • modelling and simulation of data to evaluate different scenarios, e g upscaling of crop production,
  • modelling to automate collection of equivalent measures, e g leaf area growth as a measure of biomass growth,
  • preparing data to be comparable between different testbeds, scales, measures and units.

 

What benefits does your project offer in the context of digitalisation and bioeconomy?

– The main benefits that we hope to offer as an outcome of the project funded by the Nordic Testbed Network is that this kind of digitalisation and collection of standardised, comparable and sharable data will provide valuable metrics for efficiency, productivity, sustainability and profitability that can be used for baselines and benchmarking of different improvements in cultivation, both for different kind of horticulture production (greenhouse cultivation, indoor, hydroculture cultivation in farm buildings, urban farming, etc) and agriculture applications (outdoor farming of crops in soil)

Nordic Testbed Network provides funding for two testbed initiatives

Due to minimal traveling caused by Covid-19, the Nordic Testbed Network used less of its 2020 budget than planned. We therefore invited all of our testbeds to provide ideas for relevant activities in line with the core of the network, which the network could fund.

We are happy to announce that AgroTech and Alovivum have been granted funding for their respective initiatives.

 

Digital tests for optimised spraying with minimal overlap

The Danish Technological Institute’s initiative lies within the area of precision agriculture – a key element in the digital transformation of the bioeconomy. The use of pesticides can be optimised by using GPS systems, drones, and camera technologies. However, also the precision of the field sprayers can be optimised using digital solutions, by new add-on technologies and computer control.

The aim of this project is to demonstrate the quality of agricultural sprayers by measuring of the boom movements with/without a technology controlling the yaw movements.

– I think there are good possibilities for ensuring a more sustainable plant production, by using digital solutions both implemented on new sprayers and the farmers existing equipment. However the producers of digital solutions are often start-ups ag-tech and SME companies and the cost for proving the effect for the farmers can be relatively costly and difficult to finance. The funding from the Nordic Testbed Network gives the possibility to measure the estimated positive benefit for a more accurate spraying, says Birgitte Feld Mikkelsen, Danish Technological Institute.

 

An outreach for co-creation, data sharing and demonstration

Photo: Alovivum’s pilot site in Gödelöv, Genarp, Lund, Sweden.

Alovivum’s initiative involves an outreach of the testbed for co-creation, data sharing and demonstration to the local bioeconomy and food community, in order to interact with farmers to co-develop indoor farming applications, retrofit farm buildings and select plant species for local supply chains. The interaction may eventually be extended to consumers, retail and other stakeholders.

– We chose to apply for this project since we believe that sharing data and results from our testbed and pilot site for hydroculture cultivation and farming will help us and others to make this innovative way of indoor farming and its benefits and KPIs more visible and subject for further development, comparison and benchmarking, as well as mutual sharing of progress among the Nordic testbeds and other stakeholders, says Henrik Hedlund at Alovivum.

Contact: Henrik Hedlund, Alovivum

Smart Agtech Sweden – one of the EDIH candidates

Smart Agtech Sweden is one of Swedens 15 European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) candidates, competing of becoming one of the up to 6 EDIH in Sweden. The proposed hub aims to improve innovation rate of the Swedish agricultural sector by further integrating it with the ICT sector based on 3 pillars: Smart Farming (i.e. Precision Agriculture and Precision Livestock Farming), data analytics using AI, and IoT.

Read more further down

Illustration: Per Frankelius, Linköping University

 

Low rate of innovation

In line with the overall high levels of digital proficiency in the population, many Swedish farmers are early adopters in automation and monitoring systems to offset high input and labour costs. Despite this rapid transformation among farmers the rate of innovation is estimated to be lower in agriculture and food processing than elsewhere in the Swedish economy with research not being well connected with the needs of the agriculture and food sector (OECD Food and Agricultural Reviews: Innovation, Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability in Sweden, 2018).

 

Network for stakeholders

Smart Agtech Sweden EDIH will bring together cutting-edge digital technologies with agricultural equipment manufacturers, food producers and advisory organisations to enable the further addition of value-added services to the agricultural sector in Sweden and support further innovation. It is a powerful initiative with the ambition of transforming the Swedish agri-food system into state-of-the-art in terms of sustainability and competitiveness through smart digital technology. The strategy is to disseminate and develop digital technology in agriculture and related ecosystems, focusing on SMEs and the public sector.

 

Several strong players

Smart Agtech Sweden is an initiative linking Sweden’s leading regional agtech digital innovation nodes and is coordinated by RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) in collaboration with strong agtech players: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and regional platforms in Eastern Central Sweden, Western Sweden and Southern Sweden, namely Agtech 2030 (c/o Linköping University), SmartAgri (c/o Agroväst), Region South (c/o Krinova) and Test bed for digitalized agriculture (c/o RISE). In addition, Visual Sweden (c/o Linköping University) and allied partners are included. Local SMEs will benefit from the hub’s partnership and be offered qualified support for e.g. testing and development of new products and processes.

 

CONTACT:
Anna Rydberg: anna.rydberg@ri.se
Kristina Anderback: kristina.anderback@agrovast.se

New course focusing on the role of testbeds in a digital bioeconomy

Later this year, the new course Digitalisation and the bioeconomy starts – welcoming PhD students with an interest in the interplay between digitalisation, innovation and the bioeconomy. The course explores the interface between digitalisation and the bioeconomy with a particular focus on their development in testbeds and subsequent adoption to help achieve more sustainable bioeconomies.

The course is offered by the research school Social Science Perspectives on Sustainable Development, an umbrella organisation between the Department of Economics and the Department of Urban and Rural Development at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Please spread the word to people in your network that could be interested! More information about the course can be found here.