Institute for Agricultural Engineering

Pretoria, South Africa

Institute for Agricultural Engineering

Pretoria, South Africa
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Amponsah S.K.,CSIRCrops Research Institute | Bobobee E.Y.H.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering | Agyare W.A.,Technical Instructor | Okyere J.B.,Technical Instructor | And 3 more authors.
Applied Engineering in Agriculture | Year: 2014

Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is the world's third most important crop and an essential source of food and income throughout the tropics providing livelihood for over 500 million farmers and countlessprocessors and traders. In Ghana, cassava contributes 22% of Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) and is an emerging profitable industry crop. Large-scale cassava harvesting especially during the dry season is the greatest constraint to its industrial demand and commercial production. Manual harvesting is slow and associated with drudgery and high root damage in the dry season. A mechanical harvester is needed to break the labor bottleneck associated with cassava harvesting. Research on mechanization of cassava production however is very low, especially in the area of harvesting and currently there exists no known mechanical cassava harvesters in Ghana. The main objective of this study was to assess the response of five different cassava varieties to mechanical harvesting on ridged and flat landforms. Results from field trials using the tek mechanical cassava harvester showed that best performance was achieved on ridged landforms, which have better tuber yields and root tuber orientation. Among all the cassava varieties, "Nkabom" was generally found to more easily lend itself to mechanical harvesting due to its bunchy nature. The tek mechanical harvester worked best on fields with minimal trash or weeds and relatively dry soils with moisture content from 12%-16% d.b. And requires drafts of up to 10.33 kN with penetration depth from 23 to 29 cm. Best harvesting performance was achieved at a tractor speed of 5 km/h giving a field capacity of 1.9 to 2.5 h/ha. After mechanical harvesting, the field is left plowed with savings on fuel, time and cost. However, it is recommended to field evaluate the harvester in all agro-ecological zones and through a wide range of soil moisture regimes in Ghana to determine suitable areas for mechanical harvesting and to promote nationwide adoption. © 2014 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.


Chirende B.,Jilin University | Chirende B.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering | Li J.,Jilin University | Wen L.,Jilin University | Simalenga T.E.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering
Science China Technological Sciences | Year: 2010

Past researches have shown that the non-smooth body surfaces of soil burrowing animals help to reduce soil resistance. In this research, this concept of bionic non-smooth surface was applied to disc ploughs and an experiment was conducted in an indoor soil bin to find out the effects of different bionic units on reducing soil resistance to disc ploughing. Horizontal force acting on the disc plough during soil deformation was measured using a 5 kN sensor. Convex and concave bionic units were used and the material used for making convex ones is ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) which is hydrophobic. From the experiment results, higher or deeper bionic units always resulted in less soil resistance. Convex bionic units gave the highest resistance reduction reaching a maximum of 19% reduction (from 1715.36 N to 1383.65 N) compared to concave bionic units. Also, samples with a bionic unit density of 30% gave the highest resistance reduction compared to the other two, which were either plain or had 10% density. In conclusion, the concept of bionic non-smooth units can be applied to disc ploughs in order to reduce soil resistance. © 2010 Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Mutenje T.J.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering | Simalenga T.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering | Smithers J.C.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
AMA, Agricultural Mechanization in Asia, Africa and Latin America | Year: 2013

There are limitations in conventional beef cattle management practices in South African feedlots. This is due to a lack of an adequate system for monitoring and controlling activities when handling cattle. In order to find a solution to these limitations, this document outlines a literature review to investigate an alternative automated system using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) as a management tool. Case studies indicate the success of application of RFID where labour costs, data control errors and handling time were reduced and thus promotes the integration of this technology in conventional cattle management systems. The application of an automated system for beef cattle management that utilises RFID technology, where animals will be identified, weighed and automatically sorted in order to achieve best practice, is proposed. This research into technology development will further on yield prototype development of RFID controlled technology which is likely to result in improved operations. Thorough evaluation and assessment in the South African environment is proposed to be undertaken at a higher research level.


Mutenje T.J.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering
6th International CIGR Technical Symposium - Towards a Sustainable Food Chain: Food Process, Bioprocessing and Food Quality Management | Year: 2011

In order to enhance development of agricultural post harvesting and farm produce handling technologies, virtual engineering tools were utilized for functional visualization, evaluation and decision making of intended infrastructure outcomes without physical modelling. This technological advancement facilitates down streaming issues during the preliminary stages of projects development. This paper showcase how virtual prototyping is being utilized in the post harvesting and farm produce handling technology development for small scale farmers in South Africa. These tool assisted junior researcher engineers visualise and appreciate intended design outcomes without physical modelling. It was also realised that virtual reality (VR) introduction, facilitated designs interpretations during the preliminary stages through elaborative visualisation. This article showcase our experience in integrating various low-cost VR to aid instructional delivery and junior researchers visualisation of agricultural post harvesting and farm produce handling system prototypes. The project was a collaborative effort of various institutes to enhance junior research engineers' interest in visual design and graphics whilst stimulating interest in leading-edge technology. Although the topic requires further investigations, and if research is to be believed, it can be concluded that, the introduction of virtual prototyping improves post harvesting technology appreciation by learners, end-users and the small scale farming communities in South Africa.


Lebotsa P.S.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering | Simalenga T.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering | Mothapo M.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering
6th International CIGR Technical Symposium - Towards a Sustainable Food Chain: Food Process, Bioprocessing and Food Quality Management | Year: 2011

A honey extractor prototype was developed and tested for efficiency. Honey is known to be a food product produced and stored by bees. It is stored in comb cells built by bees on wooden frames supplied by beekeepers. To extract honey from comb cells, majority of beekeepers use honey extractors. Existing honey extractors cause breakage of combs during extraction, especially the manually operated. Honey also has tendency of crystallizing during days of low temperature, which makes it more difficult to extract. The main objective of the study was to develop an effective and efficient honey extractor prototype that will extract crystallized honey with minimal/without breakage of honey combs. This will lead to a higher production of honey as bees will not spend time replacing broken combs before producing honey. A literature review of existing mechanism for extraction of honey and alternative heating mechanisms and heat sources was undertaken. A number of beekeepers and bee equipments specialists were approached to get an understanding of equipments used, processes and problems experienced. A solution was chosen from the various alternatives, taking into consideration technical, environmental and social requirements as well as availability and accessibility of resources. A bicycle pedal driven honey extractor with a solar heating mechanism was selected. The prototype was designed and constructed. A test for both efficiency on decrystalization and extraction of honey from comb cells was performed. Frames were placed in the extractor that was connected to the heating mechanism. Extractor was driven, increasing speed gradually until honey started flowing out of combs onto the wall of extractor. On completion, no breakage of comb cells was observed. The prototype will be used in design of a honey extraction system and introduced to beekeepers to improve production of honey in South Africa.


Mutenje T.J.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering | Nyemba F.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering
Precision Livestock Farming 2011 - Papers Presented at the 5th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2011 | Year: 2011

For an ellaborative concept visualisation of the developed precision cattle handling system prototype, Virtual Reality (VR) tools were utilised. These tool assisted junior research engineers visualise and appreciate intended design outcomes without physical modeling. VR introduction, facilitated designs intepretations during the preliminary stages through ellaborative visualisation. This article showcase our experience in integrating various low-cost VR to aid instructional delivery and junior researchers visualisation of a cattle handling system prototype. The project was a collaborative effort of various institutes to enhance junior research engineers interest in visual design and graphics whilist stimulating interest in leading-edge technology.


Reinders F.B.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering | van der Stoep I.,South African Irrigation Institute SABI | Backeberg G.R.,Water Research Commission WRC
Irrigation and Drainage | Year: 2013

Irrigated agriculture plays a major role in the livelihoods of nations all over the world and in South Africa it is not different. With the agricultural water use sector being the largest of all water use sectors in South Africa, there have been increased expectations that the sector should increase efficiency and reduce consumption in order to increase the amount of water available for other uses. In a recent study on irrigation efficiency, the approach is that irrigation efficiency should be assessed by applying a water balance to a specific situation rather than by calculating various performance indicators such as conveyance efficiency or application efficiency. Unfortunately the concept of irrigation efficiency is frequently misunderstood leading to the widespread belief that water just disappears with low irrigation efficiencies and re-appears with improvements. The purpose of an irrigation system is to apply the desired amount of water, at the correct application rate and uniformly to the whole field, at the right time, with the least amount of non-beneficial water consumption (losses), and as economically as possible. The fraction of the water abstracted from the source that can be utilised by the plant, can be called the beneficial water use component and optimised irrigation water supply is therefore aimed at maximising this component. It implies that water must be delivered from the source to the field both efficiently (with the least volume for production along the supply system) and effectively (at the right time, in the right quantity and at the right quality). Optimising water use at farm level requires careful consideration of the implications of decisions made during both development (planning and design), and management (operation and maintenance), taking into account technical, economic and environmental issues. The South African framework covers four levels of water management infrastructure: -the water source, bulk conveyance system, the irrigation scheme and the irrigation farm. The water balance approach can be applied at any level, within defined boundaries, or across all levels to assess performance within the whole Water Management Area. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd..


Reinders F.B.,Institute for Agricultural Engineering
Water SA | Year: 2011

The purpose of an irrigation system is to apply the desired amount of water, at the correct application rate and uniformly to the whole field, at the right time, with the least amount of non-beneficial water consumption (losses), and as economically as possible. We know that irrigated agriculture plays a major role in the livelihoods of nations all over the world and South Africa is no exception. With the agricultural water-use sector being the largest of all water-use sectors in South Africa, there have been increased expectations that the sector should increase efficiency and reduce consumption in order to increase the amount of water available for other uses. Studies and research over 40 years, on the techniques of flood-, mobile- and micro-irrigation have contributed to the knowledge base of applying irrigation methods correctly. In a recent study on irrigation efficiency, the approach is that irrigation efficiency should be assessed by applying a water balance to a specific situation rather than by calculating various performance indicators. The fraction of the water abstracted from the source that is utilised by the plant is called the beneficial water-use component, and optimised irrigation water supply is therefore aimed at maximising this component. It implies that water must be delivered from the source to the field both efficiently and effectively. Optimising water use at farm level requires careful consideration of the implications of decisions made during both development (planning and design), and management (operation and maintenance), taking into account technical, economic and environmental issues. An exciting, newly-developed South African Framework for Improved Efficiency of Irrigation Water Use covers 4 levels of water-management infrastructure: the water source, bulk conveyance system, the irrigation scheme and the irrigation farm. The water-balance approach can be applied at any level, within defined boundaries, or across all levels to assess performance within the entire water management area.

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