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Title:Techno-economic analysis of a rapid phenotyping rover
Author(s):Mercado, Caylee Kathleen Coffman
Advisor(s):Peschel, Joshua
Department / Program:Civil & Environmental Eng
Discipline:Civil Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This study considers how a new agricultural robot that measures the physical traits of plants to identify high yielding crop varieties would fit in the current agricultural market by assessing historical crop production, similar technology currently available, and stakeholders, and develops a ten-year forecast of yields. The research investigates the socio-technical aspects of a rapid phenotyping rover, TERRA-MEPP (Transportation Energy Resource from Renewable Agriculture– Mobile Energy-crop Phenotyping Platform), that is not currently in the market place. Yield forecasting for a target crop, energy sorghum, was performed based on a 6 percent estimated yield gain. The value modeling developed for this study considers the total cost of ownership for TERRA-MEPP, the number of rovers needed by the breeder, the adoption rate of a new seed variety, and the fraction of the profits that the seed company receives. These variables are used in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture's sorghum production projections to model the monetary value of TERRA-MEPP over the next ten years. The value modeling in this study indicates that TERRA-MEPP will offer a large return on investment. A TERRA-MEPP rover will cost $20,000 or less, with the total operating cost estimated at about $13,000 per year, and a return on investment of about $38.4 million over ten years. The yield forecasting and socio-technical analysis in this study will be of interest to breeders and farmers. The potential yield gains that may be realized with TERRA-MEPP would provide additional biofuel and food. Developing new methods to increase crop yields is a critical mission this century, as the global community faces rapidly growing population and limited arable land, with uncertain changes in climate.
Issue Date:2016-07-19
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Caylee Mercado
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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