Agricultural Engineering

ILVO’s research in Agricultural Engineering focuses on innovative and environmentally-friendly agricultural systems. The core activities of this research are development and evaluation of new and existing techniques, as well as their integration to create innovative production systems that support sustainable agriculture and horticulture. Technical competency is combined with modern mathematical and IT-based methods. ILVO also has a workshop where we construct our own prototypes and experimental set-ups.

Animal trials consistent with ethics code

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Mechanisation

mechanizationILVO has internationally renowned expertise in mechanisation of spray techniques. We emphasize more sustainable application methods of plant protection products and fertilisers. We are also responsible for the required certification of all sprayer equipment in Flanders and we have a BELAC-accredited spray technique lab, capable performing the most cutting-edge measuring techniques (www.ilvo.vlaanderen.be\spraytechlab).

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Environmental Engineering

environmental engineeringILVO’s environmental technique research group focuses on climate management and environmental safety in and around agrarian buildings. Specifically, we measure, model and manage air flows, air quality and air emissions (especially ammonia, fine dust particles, odour and greenhouse gases). The main research activities are (1) developing and applying measurement techniques and (2) developing and evaluating sustainable management methods (low-emission, with a low energy use). This research group’s expertise is also called upon for reference services for the Environment, Nature and Energy Policy Area (NLE).

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Energy Engineering

energy engineeringIn this research, we focus on rational energy use in agriculture and horticulture. Reducing energy use (saving energy and recuperating energy from emissions or water vapour) are central themes. This group provides technical support for valorisation from biomass to produce energy (including pre-handling) and coordinates the development of an exergy-based input/output-driven instrument to evaluate and guide the sustainability of agricultural production processes through a life cycle approach.

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 Harvest and Post-Harvest Engineering

harvest and post-harvest engineeringImage and sensor engineering are central to this research, including multispectral, thermal and rapid imaging. These areas of expertise are applied in feasibility studies and the testing of prototypes, often in partnership with SMEs. We have specific expertise in the construction of robust camera- and sensor systems in prototypes for demanding practical circumstances, with attention for speed of data acquisition, stability of the software and algorhythms appropriate for use in practice.

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Technical Aspects of Animal Husbandry

The focus within this research area is on (1) objectification and automation of animal-related parameters and (2) the continuous and simultaneous monitoring of a group of animals on an individual basis. New techniques are developed, and existing sensors/technologies are adapted, to make it possible to continuously monitor animals on a daily basis in real time. After validation in experimental and practical conditions, statistic processes are applied so we can develop a management-supportive decision-making model.

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