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WSU’s Ag Tech Day – 1:30-6:00 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 22, in Prosser, Washington.

August 13, 2019  |  WSU Insider

Experts from WSU, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Microsoft FarmBeats and ASI Robots will share updates on cutting-edge agricultural advances with growers, agricultural industry professionals, and crop consultants.

This year’s event explores the theme of automation in specialty crop production, and includes field demonstrations and discussions of digital agriculture solutions, automation in farm operations, robotics in specialty crops, intelligent orchard sprayers, a survey of autonomy on the farm, and regulations on the use of autonomous vehicles in Washington farming.

Read the article : Tech Day explores automation in specialty crops, 2019, WSU Insider.

 

 

 

 

 

Juming Tang elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences

July 15, 2019  |   Washington State Academy of Sciences

Juming Tang, Regents Professor and Department Chair, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University, has been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for forward-thinking research in the field of food engineering.

The Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS) is delighted to announce 24 new members in recognition of their outstanding record of scientific and technical achievement and willingness to work on behalf of the Academy to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state of Washington. New members will be inducted into WSAS following the 12th Annual Symposium and Members’ Meeting at the Museum of Flight in Seattle on September 12, 2019.

Source: Press Release: New Members Elected to WSAS 

Precision pruning can help machines safely, efficiently harvest apples

July 9, 2019  |  WSU Insider

With more apples to pick than any other state—more than 2.5 million tons every year—Washington apple producers have a growing desire to put labor-saving machines to work at harvest.

Sharing new discoveries on how precise pruning could support a labor-saving mechanical harvesting technique, scientists at Washington State University have won an award for their research from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

Read the article : Precision pruning can help machines, 2019, WSU Insider.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Hanwu Lei Featured by USDA NIFA

June 12, 2019  |   NIFA Update

A research group led by Washington State University (WSU) scientists has found a way to turn daily plastic waste products into jet fuel.

In a new paper published in the journal Applied Energy, WSU’s Hanwu Lei and colleagues melted plastic waste at high temperature with activated carbon, a processed carbon with increased surface area, to produce jet fuel.

“Waste plastic is a huge problem worldwide,” said Lei, an associate professor in WSU’s Department of Biological System Engineering.

 

Read the Article : Making a difference. NIFA Update.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MATS and MAPS Advance Food Preservation

June 13, 2019  |   Food Technology

About 20 years ago, the Microwave Sterilization Consortium (MSC) was established at Washington State University (WSU) to coordinate the efforts of academic, industry, and U.S. Department of Defense researchers as they sought to develop a revolutionary new method for in-package sterilization of individual meals. The main goal was to dramatically reduce thermal treatment time in order to maintain high organoleptic and nutritional quality while still ensuring food safety during ambient storage. Led by WSU Regents Professor and Distinguished Chair of Food Engineering Juming Tang, experts in microwave engineering, microbiology, packaging, process simulation, and sensory evaluation together developed the technology that would come to be known as MATS. [continue reading]

Source: Food Technology, June, 2019. pp. 112-116.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plastic water bottles may one day fly people cross-country

June 4, 2019  |   WSU Insider

A research group led by Washington State University scientists has found a way to turn daily plastic waste products into jet fuel.

In a new paper published in the journal Applied Energy, WSU’s Hanwu Lei and colleagues melted plastic waste at high temperature with activated carbon, a processed carbon with increased surface area, to produce jet fuel.

“Waste plastic is a huge problem worldwide,” said Lei, an associate professor in WSU’s Department of Biological System Engineering. “This is a very good, and relatively simple, way to recycle these plastics.”

In the experiment, Lei and colleagues tested low-density polyethylene and mixed a variety of waste plastic products, like water bottles, milk bottles, and plastic bags, and ground them down to around three millimeters, or about the size of a grain of rice…

Read the Article : Plastic water bottles may on day fly people cross-country.  WSU Insider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satellites and Drones Search for Better Wheat Varieties to Feed the World

May 29, 2019  |   WSU Insider

WSU researchers are using satellites and drones to search for better wheat varieties to feed a growing world. The team launched a new project this spring, developing techniques that allow satellites and drones to identify and study wheat varieties from overhead. This research is funded by a USDA-NIFA grant.

The team looks to speed up research toward identifying better, more productive wheat varieties.  If successful it will give growers powerful new tools to improve farming. Wheat currently feeds more than 1/3rd of the human population and is grown on more acres than any other crop. To meet the growing worldwide demand and stay ahead of pests, pathogens and a changing environment, wheat breeders strive to develop improved varieties. Phenotyping (measuring the way plant genes are expressed physically) allows selection of the best plants to breed for improved yield, grain quality and disease resistance. Machines can sense crop traits faster. With modern satellite imagery matched together with drones, visual and infrared imagery can be collected from wheat plots. Drone cameras can collect data with the hope that this matching process will enable identification of wheat varieties from orbit.

Part of the project’s challenge is to learn whether wheat varieties and their physical characteristics can be differentiated by their spectral data. “Sensors are getting better every day,” said team member Sindhuja Sankaran, an associate professor and sensor technology researcher at WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering. “As resolution increases and camera costs drop, we have more powerful tools to sense how crops are performing.” Improved sensors will help to speed up the selection of new varieties, as well as help predict yields, monitor crop performance and protect plants from drought.

Read the Article : Images from space could help farmers grow better wheat varieties. WSU Insider

 

 

 

 

 

Artificial intelligence and precision farming: does efficiency mean sustainability?

May 28, 2019  |   filling-space.com

  • How does artificial intelligence-powered precision farming affect food sustainability?

This is a question that Filling Space.com asked their panel of experts, including Sindhuja Sankaran, an Agricultural Automation Engineering specialist from Washington State University’s Biological Systems Engineering Department.

Sankaran says, “For us, artificial intelligence serves as a key tool that assists in the application of sensor technology for phenotyping applications. Given the natural variability in plants, the thousands of crop varieties evaluated, and advancements in sensor technology (e.g. hyperspectral imaging system), it is impossible to identify patterns and evaluate plant traits without the application of artificial intelligence techniques… we use these methods to contribute to machine-guided informed selection of varieties, thus contributing to sustainability.”

Read the Article : Artificial intelligence and precision farming: does efficiency mean sustainability?, 2019, Filling-space.com

 

 

 

 

 

Western Innovator: From Nepal to Robotic Pioneer

May 12, 2019  |  Salem, OR

Some 30 years ago, he was a lad tending rice, sugarcane, goats and other crops on his family’s subsistence farm in the mid-hill region of Bhojpur, Nepal.

Last December, Manoj Karkee (pronounced Maw-nose Car-key) was among 11 U.S. and Canadian professors named 2019 pioneers in artificial intelligence and the internet by Connected World, a business and technology publication.

Karkee, 41, is an associate professor in the Biological Systems Engineering Department at Washington State University. He leads a staff of 12 in the Agricultural Automation and Robotics Laboratory at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser.

Read the Paper : Western Innovator: From Nepal to robotic pioneer, 2019, Capital Press.

 

 

 

 

 

2019 ASABE Superior Paper Award – Congratulations!

May 9, 2019  |  Pullman, WA

The team of Qin Zhang, Xin Zhang, Long He, Yaqoob Majeed, Matthew D. Whiting and Manoj Karkee have been selected to receive a 2019 ASABE Superior Paper Award.
This group will be honored at the General Session Recognition Program during the ASABE Annual International Meeting on July 8th, 2019 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.

  • Qin Zhang – Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Director, Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Xin Zhang – Graduate Student in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Long He – Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Fruit Research and Extension Center, Pennsylvania State University, Biglerville, PA.
  • Yaqoob Majeed – Graduate Student in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Matthew D. Whiting – Professor in the Department of Horticulture, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Manoj Karkee – Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.

Read the Paper : A Precision Pruning Strategy for Improving Efficiency of Vibratory Mechanical Harvesting of Apples, 2018, Transactions of the ASABE, Vol. 61(5): 1565-1576.

 

 

 

 

 

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