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April 13, 1984 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-04-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

36

Friday, April 13, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

NEW CADILLAC?

PASSOVER GREETINGS

ANDY BLAU

To the entire community

SEE OR CALL

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ENTERTAINMENT TAILORED TO YOUR NEEDS
_—
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BY WILLIAM J. CLARK
Haifa — Israeli farmers
are now cultivating the land
of milk and honey by com-
puter. Electronic gadgetry
rules farm life, from
monitoring the automated
milking apparatus to devis-
ing the best way to pack and
stack jars of honey in their
cartons.

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Rabbi Robert Abramson, principal of Hillel Day School in
Farmington Hills, was one of 13 principals and senior
teachers who participated in Hebrew University of
Jerusalem's Jewish values curriculum—seminar in Israel
last month.

Computers cut production
costs for Israel farmers

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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • • •

"There's no other way,"
says Prof. Benjamin Zur,
dean of the Agrcicultural
Engineering Department at
the Technion — Israel's In-
stitute of Technology. "The
major challenge to agricul-
ture today is the vital need
to cut production costs. And
the computer offers the best
way of doing this."

Prof. Zur explains that a
few decades ago, Israeli
farmers converted a neg-
lected strip of land along the
eastern coast of the
Mediterranean into one of
the most fruitful agricul-
tural regions in the world.
They developed many new
techniques which quickly
made the country an impor-
tant exporter of agricul-
tural produce to the world
market.

Western Europe has tra-
ditionally been the main
market for Israeli agricul-
tural exports, but in recent
years, demand for Israel's
products has significantly
declined, Prof. Zur said. The
techniques developed in Is-
rael for growing more and
better crops have been
learned by competing far-
mers of North Africa and
southern Europe and since
the competitors have the
advantages of cheaper labor
and lower transportation
costs to the western Euro-
pean purchasers, Israeli ag-
ricultural exports are sim-
ply being priced out of the
market.

Israeli farmers are meet-
ing the challenge by turn-
ing to the computer, Ulti-
mately, according to Zur,
CAD-CAM (Computer
Aided Design — Computer
Aided Manufacture) tech-
niques may govern Israeli
farms completely.

Prof. Zur explained how a
computer helps make Is-
raeli tractors more efficient.
Computers are constantly
analyzing all the variables
of the tractor's operation —
its fuel consumption, its
traction, the job its doing
and other elements of its
work. The optimum speed of
the tractor can be modified
by field conditions, he said,
such as the earth being
muddy and slippery from
the previous night's rain.
Here, the computer can de-
termine precisely the right
speed for the tractor accord-
ing to the prevailing condi-
tions.

Israel's innovative irriga-
tion techniques — now
completely computerized in
many areas — have become
well known. More recently,
however, Israeli farmers
have expanded these sys-
tems by linking in other
computer-governed func-
tions. Fertigation is one
example — water-soluble
fertilizers are mixed with
the irrigation water in
amounts determined by
computer and distributed
through existing irrigation
pipes.

,

The same system can also
be used to distribute other
water-soluble chemicals,
such as pesticides, in a proc-
ess now called pestigation.
Another computerized ap-
proach to irrigation is the
Ayanot mobile irrigation
machine. The awkward
looking contraption propels
itself by water pressure be-
tween rows of crops to dis-
perse water directly on the
soil in droplets. The Ayanot
machine, which is claimed
to be more portable than
similar equipment, is con-
trolled by a microprocessor.

Once the growing and
harvesting are completed,
Israelis pack their produce
by computer. Marketing
strategies, shipping routes
and pricing tactics are
analyzed and evaluated by
computer.

Israel Government
Press Service •

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