Academic Year 2020/2021 - 3° Year - Curriculum TECNOLOGIE PER L'AGRICOLTURA DI PRECISIONE
Teaching Staff Credit Value: 12
Scientific field
  • AGR/09 - Agricultural machinery and mechanization
  • AGR/01 - Agricultural economics and rural appraisal
Course Language: Italian
Taught classes: 56 hours
Exercise: 56 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives


    The course aims to provide disciplinary and professionalizing skills to applicate techniques, machines and procedures of the precision farming at farm and territorial scale, in order to limit the environmental impact, working times, resources used and production costs. To provide the knowledge of the instruments and techniques necessary for the field monitoring, including the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and to translate the field information in agronomic management mode through properly equipped machines, models and decision support systems. To provide the choice criteria of the machines for the management with reduced environmental impact of the agro-ecosystems in the respect of the natural resources and the territory.

  • Economics and management of innovations

    The course aims to make the student acquire the basic economic principles for the adoption of precision farming techniques and to highlight the main implications on the management of production units, in relation to social, economic and environmental aspects. Economic valuation techniques are illustrated to determine the benefits that can be achieved through the analysis of the effects on costs and revenues. The course also aims to provide the useful basis for understanding the macroeconomic aspects of innovations, their generation, acquisition and dissemination processes in economic systems at different levels of development, with reference to national and international scenarios and to the various regulations present.

Course Structure


    Lectures (28 ore) with the aid of slides and exercises (28 hours) consisting of analyses of practical applications, seminars and visits to local farms.

    If the teaching will be carried out in mixed or on line mode, the necessary changes may be introduced with respect to the previous statements in order to comply with the program planned and reported in the syllabus.

    Learning assessment could also be carried out online, if conditions require it.

  • Economics and management of innovations

    The course includes frontal teaching activities in the classroom, through 28 hours of lectures and 28 hours of application exercises, possible seminars and technical visits to institutions and companies.

    If the course will be given in a mixed or remote mode, the necessary changes may be introduced with respect to what was previously stated, in order to respect the program envisaged and reported in the syllabus. Learning assessment may also be carried out on line, should the conditions require it.

Detailed Course Content


    The meaning of precision agriculture will be explained by referring to its evolution. During the lectures, they will be analysed: farm information systems, remote sensing systems and remote control platforms, including UAS, for crop monitoring, soil and crop survey sensors, agricultural machinery positioning and guiding systems and production mapping systems, variable rate machines for soil tillage, sowing, fertilisation, crop protection. Furthermore, precision farming applications herbaceous in open field and arboreal crops will be analysed.

  • Economics and management of innovations

    Innovation, development and economic growth

    Review of economic theory. Role of innovations in the competitiveness of economic systems. Schools of thought, interpretative models and policies. Technical progress and innovation in economic thinking. Evolutionary theory of innovation: basic notions. Types and sources of innovation. The innovative enterprise. Diffusion and adoption of innovation. Innovation systems. Public policies for innovation. Innovation and intellectual property rights.

    Innovations in agriculture

    Evolution and current scenario Product

    Evolutionary features of innovations in modern agriculture: from the green revolution to digital innovations. The dissemination of knowledge and innovation in agriculture and the difficulties of modernizing farms. The development of mechanization and subcontracting. The spread of Precision Agriculture in the world and in Italy.

    Support for businesses to access innovations.

    Public incentives. The role of agricultural credit.

    Research, development and innovation in agriculture

    Biotechnological innovations: economic and regulatory aspects. The social perception of biotechnological innovations. The European Partnership for Innovation in Agriculture. The role of the Operational Groups in the generation of agricultural innovations in the Italian context. The Agricultural Research Database. The socio-economic profile of the innovative entrepreneur and the tools to encourage the adoption of Precision farming innovations.

    Analysis of the economic evaluation of the introduction of Precision Agriculture in the farm

    Precision farmingand the effects on company capital, on work, on revenues. The income statement and valuations for individual technologies and crops. The technical-economic dimension for the introduction of Precision Farming. The determination of the economic convenience for the introduction of Precision Farming. Environmental impacts and benefits: notes on evaluation using the Life Cycle Assessment methodology.

    Analysis of case studies and simulations by applying some Decision Support Tools to evaluate the economic convenience of company investments in Precision Farming

Textbook Information


    The lecturer provides all the slides used to explain the arguments of the course, in order to provide a guide for the individual study. The following reference books are also suggested , although students are free to consult any other book about the same topics:

    1. Casa R. – Agricoltura di precisione. Metodi e tecnologie per migliorare l'efficienza e la sostenibilità dei sistemi colturali – Edagricole - Edizioni Agricole di New Business Media srl. Milano. (ISBN 978-88-506-5510-6).

    2. Misturini R. – Precision farming. Strumenti e tecnologie per un'agricoltura evoluta – Edagricole - Edizioni Agricole di New Business Media srl. Milano. (ISBN: 978-88-506-5587-8).

    3. Basso B., Sartori L., Bertocco M. – Agricoltura di precisione. Concetti teorici e applicazioni pratiche – Edizioni L'Informatore Agrario SpA. Verona. (ISBN 978-88-7220-229-9).

    4. Lecture notes.

    5. Zhang Q. – Precision farming technology for crop farming – CRC Press - Taylor & Francis Group. Boca Ratom, FL. (ISBN 978-1-4822-5107-4).

  • Economics and management of innovations

    Texbook 1: Fariselli P., Economia dell’innovazione, Giappichelli editore, Torino, 2014

    Texbook 2: Casa R. (a cura di), Agricoltura di precisione. Metodi e tecnologie per migliorare l’efficienza e la sostenibilità dei sistemi colturali, Edagricole, Bologna, 2018.

    Texbook 3: Fontana E., Il credito alle filiere agroalimentari: mercato, valutazione di merito, concessione, Edagricole, Bologna, 2019.

    Texbook 4: Galbiati M., Gentile A., La Malfa S. Tonelli C. (a cura di), Biotecnologie sostenibili, Edagricole, Bologna, 2017.

    For visiting students, the supplementary didactic material of the course will be available in English and the textbooks to be used are the following:

    Texbook 5: OECD (2019), Digital Opportunities for Better Agricultural Policies, OECD Publishing, Paris,

    Texbook 6: OECD (2019), Innovation, Productivity and Sustainability in Food and Agriculture: Main Findings from Country Reviews and Policy Lessons, OECD Food and Agricultural Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris,