Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Agricultural Machinery

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Biosystem and Biological Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2021) | Viewed by 14468

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: precision livestock farming; environmental sustainability; emissions
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Milan, 20133 Milano, MI, Italy
Interests: agricultural machinery; agricultural ergonomics and safety
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agricultural machinery is a fundamental factor in agricultural and livestock productions. The development of efficient and safe machines with low energy requirements is the key for a modern and sustainable agricultural mechanization, based on economic, environmental, and social pillars.

From the environmental point of view, agricultural machinery should reduce energy requirements for manufacturing, fuel consumption, exhaust gases emissions, soil compaction and disposal impact. Additionally, operators should work in safe and ergonomic conditions to assure their proper welfare. Moreover, the initial investments and operational costs during the machinery life cycle have weight on the farm profitability. Considering: i) the growing food demand; ii) the reduction of the number of farms and the increase in their dimension; and iii) the reduction in labor and increase in competition, we are convinced that agricultural mechanization is now facing challenges to satisfy the needs for high performance, safety, and sustainability.

This Special Issue welcomes submissions on: i) the performance of agricultural machinery and/or agricultural mechanization carried out with life cycle assessment, cost, and social assessment methods; ii) the evaluation of novel indicators supporting these methodologies; iii) the performance of agricultural machinery in terms of operators’ safety and ergonomics, exhaust gases emissions, and innovative solutions for efficient farming.

Dr. Daniela Lovarelli
Dr. Jacopo Bacenetti
Prof. Domenico Pessina
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Agricultural Machinery
  • Exhaust gas emissions
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Life Cycle Costing
  • Social Life Cycle Assessment
  • Ergonomics and safety
  • Field mechanization
  • Efficient mechanization

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 3170 KiB  
Article
Pelletization of Compost from Different Mixtures with the Addition of Exhausted Extinguishing Powders
by Salvatore F. Papandrea, Maria F. Cataldo, Adriano Palma, Francesco Gallucci, Giuseppe Zimbalatti and Andrea Rosario Proto
Agronomy 2021, 11(7), 1357; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11071357 - 02 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3967
Abstract
Today, in Europe, there is still no industrial process to favor the distribution of exhausted extinguishing powders (EEP). Extinguishing powders (EP) are the most common extinguishing agents and are composed of very fine particles (90% is less than 0.250 mm, with at least [...] Read more.
Today, in Europe, there is still no industrial process to favor the distribution of exhausted extinguishing powders (EEP). Extinguishing powders (EP) are the most common extinguishing agents and are composed of very fine particles (90% is less than 0.250 mm, with at least 40% less than 0.040 mm). Illegal processes of disposal or reuse of EEP are currently taking place throughout Europe. In fact, often maintenance companies illegally dispose of and/or reuse spent extinguishing powders with enormous environmental damage. This is partly due to prohibitive costs, of which a large part is due to transport. The demand for fertilizers is increasing; phosphorus is a key raw material, and a possible solution could be mixing it with compost and other organic biomass and agricultural residues. In general, both compost and EEP powder have a low density and can take up a great deal of storage volume, so thickening this compost would help reduce the required storage capacity. Furthermore, a danger represented by the handling of compost and EEP is the dispersion of dust that can potentially carry pathogens and toxic organic substances which, if inhaled, could cause respiratory problems during distribution and handling. The aim of this study was to produce compost pellets using exhausted EP in different formulations and to observe the quality of different compost pellet products with respect to different factors affecting handling, storage, and distribution. For the first time, the pelletizing of EEP with compost was performed successfully using five different blends, each with different properties. The results showed that qualitative variables could be controlled to optimize production efficiency and improve the quality of the finished product depending on the type of distribution, handling, and storage. The five compost mixes could be applied in different agricultural crops as fertilizer. Furthermore, this use of exhausted EP allows for positive ecological and economic effects, avoiding the disposal costs required by specialized companies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Agricultural Machinery)
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16 pages, 4073 KiB  
Article
Considering Human Variability in the Design of Safe Interaction with Agricultural Machinery: The Case of Foldable Roll-Over Protective Structure (FROPS) Manual Handling
by Margherita Micheletti Cremasco, Lucia Vigoroso, Federica Caffaro, Giuseppe Paletto and Eugenio Cavallo
Agronomy 2021, 11(7), 1303; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11071303 - 27 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2352
Abstract
The foldable roll-over protective structure (FROPS) protects the operators against fatal injuries in tractor roll-over accidents. However, a rear-mounted FROPS is often folded down or removed. In the present study, the accessible zones and grasping areas in a rear-mounted FROPS were redesigned and [...] Read more.
The foldable roll-over protective structure (FROPS) protects the operators against fatal injuries in tractor roll-over accidents. However, a rear-mounted FROPS is often folded down or removed. In the present study, the accessible zones and grasping areas in a rear-mounted FROPS were redesigned and adapted to the 5th, 50th, and 95th European human anthropometric percentiles to enhance its correct and comfortable use. Then, a rod was proposed as a design solution to make the roll-bar grasping areas fall within the new accessible zones. The rod prototype increased roll-bar reachability and facilitated the raising handling, especially for shorter users. The present study results and the accessible zones redesigned, taking into account the human percentiles, will be helpful in rethinking reachability issues in manual handling of machinery components, to support the correct behaviours, and make human-machine interaction more comfortable and safer for all. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Agricultural Machinery)
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16 pages, 3749 KiB  
Article
Experimental Investigation of Traction Power Transfer Indices of Farm-Tractors for Efficient Energy Utilization in Soil Tillage and Cultivation Operations
by Hafiz Md-Tahir, Jumin Zhang, Junfang Xia, Yong Zhou, Hua Zhou, Jun Du, Muhammad Sultan and Hafiza Mamona
Agronomy 2021, 11(1), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11010168 - 17 Jan 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4226
Abstract
Farm tractors in cultivation consume a big amount of fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Improving traction performance and power transfer indices of wheeled tractors and field terrain soil with higher traction (pull ability) at optimal travel reduction (TR) can [...] Read more.
Farm tractors in cultivation consume a big amount of fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Improving traction performance and power transfer indices of wheeled tractors and field terrain soil with higher traction (pull ability) at optimal travel reduction (TR) can optimize energy utilization. This study compares the traction performance, fuel consumption, and field productivity, of a farm tractor equipped with a new drive wheel “rigid lugged wheel (RLW)” and conventional tire wheel (CTW) in field tillage operations. Tractor with RLW resulted 24.6 kN drawbar pull and 6.6 km.h−1 travel speed at 80% tractive efficiency and 15.6% TR. While with CTW, the drawbar pull and the travel speed were 23.2 kN and 6.0 km h−1 respectively at 68% tractive efficiency and 36.3% TR. The RLW resulted in improved traction performance with similar equipment weight. Tractor with RLW also resulted 220.5% lower TR, 14.8% higher field productivity, and 15.4% lower fuel consumption. RLW can control equipment weight and field traffic intensity with the improved traction performance of wheeled tractors and will make the field operations more energy-efficient and economical. For enhanced field drivability of RLW, further work is required to test for diverse field conditions and differently sized tractors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Agricultural Machinery)
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18 pages, 7751 KiB  
Article
Mechanical Devices for Mass Distribution Adjustment: Are They Really Convenient?
by Massimiliano Varani, Michele Mattetti, Mirko Maraldi and Giovanni Molari
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1820; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111820 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2365
Abstract
Since the introduction of four-wheel drive (4WD) and especially front wheel assist (FWA), many studies have been conducted on the optimal weight distribution between tractor front and rear axles because this influences traction efficiency. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the [...] Read more.
Since the introduction of four-wheel drive (4WD) and especially front wheel assist (FWA), many studies have been conducted on the optimal weight distribution between tractor front and rear axles because this influences traction efficiency. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the traction and efficiency advantages in the adoption of mechanical ballast position adjustment devices. The tested device is an extendable ballast holder mounted on the front three-point hitch of the tractor, able to displace the ballast up to 1 m away from its original position. An estimation of the fuel consumption during ploughing with the extendable ballast holder in different configurations was performed. Tractive performance was evaluated through drawbar tests, performed on loam soil with a 4WD tractor having a maximum engine power of 191 kW and a ballasted mass of 9590 kg. Results show that changing the tractor weight distribution over the range allowed by the extendable ballast holder produces limited effects in terms of tractive performance and fuel saving. The adoption of such devices is thus ineffective if other fundamental factors such as tyre pressure, choice of the front-to-rear wheel combination and lead of the front wheels are not considered during tractor setup. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Agricultural Machinery)
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