The Department of Agricultural Machines was established in 1952 in connection with foundation of the Agriculture University in Prague 6 - Suchdol and Faculty of Agriculture Mechanization and Machines. During the years 1952 -1961 the Department of Agricultural Machines linked its activity to the previous ones at Institute for Agriculture and Science located originally in Dejvice where the former Agriculture University had been settled. The main aim of the department was teaching not only at the Faculty of Agriculture Mechanization and Machines but also at other faculties – Faculty of Agronomy, Faculty of Economics and Management. Moreover, our academic staff participated in teaching of external short term professional courses for people from practice. Because there was a lack of study literature the first lecture notes and textbooks were published. From the year 1961 the department was located in new buildings in Suchdol belonging to the Agriculture University and finally the Czech University of Agriculture in Prague. Since that time the department has stabilized personelly and has been developing, broadening and deepening its research activities. The core of teaching staff became senior lecturers employed in 1951 who were further improving their qualification and achieved higher academic titles. Research activities concerning cereals harvesting, pick up mechanisms on machines and root crops harvesting with focus on bulbs cleaning was in close connection to individual research and thesis of the staff and their qualification improvement. Our lecturers also worked in institutions outside the university (ČSAZV, ministry of agriculture, scientific boards of different institutes, editor’s boards of journals etc.) which was a great contribution to agriculture development and research in general. The department has had sufficient premises an quite well equipped rooms and laboratories since getting moved to Suchdol. Broad complicated research projects and outcomes processing with the help of mathematics and statistics were becoming to be the basis of departmental scientific research (Observation of grain release and separation process during harvest and post harvest processing, New mechanisms development for potato harvesters in relation to specific potato tuber’s properties, etc.). Further research activities were oriented to soil tillage, plough body design, seeding machines observation, agro-physical properties of flix, hydraulic drives on agricultural machines and also development of a new combine harvester with a focus on cleaning and separation process. It is just a main part of different research activities at the Department of Agricultural Machines. After stabilization of a number of modules taught and their scope at all faculties, teachers are more specialized in their field and are guarantors of special modules and therefore responsible for their quality and development in seventies and eighties. More teaching aids were introduced such as audio and video devices and more educational materials were collected and created. Publication activity was focused on completing the range of textbooks and lecture notes and later on bigger and worldwide applicable books at that time. Some of department members had also managing duties and were appointed to important university ranking position (faculty dean, vice dean and vice rector). Three persons has worked as a head of department since its establishment in 1952 – doc. Velda, doc. Thér and since 1986 the current head of department doc. Adolf Rybka. After 1989 in connection with political and economical changes in the Czech Republic the faculty changed its name to Technical Faculty. Since then, there has been also a big development upgrade and expansion of modules taught at the whole university and our department has adapted to new educational trends.
Department of Agricultural Machines is mainly oriented to development in the field of agricultural machines for crop production and also machines for landscape management, maintenance and protection. The department provides lectures and seminars (modules) for all faculties of the whole university. Research activities are aimed at machines and technologies used in crop production. It means agro-physical properties of bio materials observation, effect of mechanisms on agricultural machines on processed plant material regarding final quality, cleaning and separation of agricultural material, energy demands and savings on agricultural machines. Current direction of departmental research is in accordance with international trends concerning precision farming systems and this topic is also the main for all PhD. students and their thesis.
Department of Agricultural Machines is a guarantor of a study programme Agricultural Machinery with two specializations. The main modules taught are concerned with machinery and technology for plant production. Together 27 modules for bachelor and MSc. study programmes and 5 modules and seminars for PhD. study programme including modules taught in English for MSc. course named Environmental Engineering. Additional teaching activities and modules taught are Construction of Stationary Equipment, Fluid Power Mechanisms, Agricultural Machinery for Small Scale Farming, Machinery for Horticulture, Machinery for Plant Protection, Precision Farming, Machines and Technologies for Forest and Wood Processing, Business with Machinery, Driving and Service of Combine Harvesters. Recently, two new modules have been introduced: Precision Agriculture and Machine’s Design and Construction in Agri-food Industry. Other two new modules are currently in preparation. Our department built a new laboratory of Fluid Power Mechanisms and has good premises for its research and machines demonstration including reconstructed Circular Hall. There are also very schematic models and PC simulations of mechanisms and whole machines at our department.
Research activities are at the Department of Agricultural Machines very wide-ranged. Traditionally research activities are oriented to agro-physical properties of bio materials observation, soil tillage, effect of mechanisms on agricultural machines on processed plant material regarding final quality, cleaning and separation of agricultural material, energy demands and savings on agricultural machines. Current departmental research projects are concerned with precision technical systems in Agriculture especially in crop production which corresponds with the aims of the main research project of the whole faculty. Research activities in this sphere for our members are technical realization of continuous scanning and evaluation of soil properties and also of different plant materials. Other research project are aimed at fuel and energy savings in agricultural machines operation, soil conservation technologies evaluation, the most suitable combination of machines for soil tillage, plant remains effect on next crop growth and last but not least hops picking and drying in different dryers and effect of drying way on quality features of final product. The Department of Agricultural Machines is still trying to gain further grants and research projects from domestic an also from international grant agencies. Our members write also plenty of scientific papers and other publications flowing from above mentioned research activities which are necessary and beneficial for practice.
Cooperation between Department of Agricultural Machines and other technical universities and Research Institutes abroad is a common feature nowadays. The best relationships are with SPU Nitra, AR Krakow, Universität Bonn, Silsoe Research Institute, Agricultural University Wageningen, University Milan etc. International cooperation activities can be divided into four groups:
cooperation concerning international conferences – organization, participation, contacts arranging,
cooperation in the framework of Socrates/Erasmus bilateral agreements, teaching staff mobility and research projects,
membership in international associations – C.I.G.R., VDI etc.,
cooperation with manufacturers and dealers of agricultural machines.
Department of Agricultural Machines has had big and long-lasting experience with agricultural advisory and very close relationships and cooperation with manufacturers and dealers of agricultural machines and with farmers and contractors. Our members of the department take part in various technical seminars and workshops every year, write scientific papers, visit and present their papers on international conferences and last but not least write and participate in creating and publishing lecture notes, textbooks and scientific journals and books. Some of them are also members of different scientific boards and committees, publishing boards with national and international sphere of action. In addition our department frequently asks people from agriculture practice to give lectures to students or take part in special workshops. Some people are involved in organizing big agriculture machinery exhibitions and other events such as Techagro, Země živitelka and Ploughing Championships. Our department was a part of organizing team for the World Ploughing Championship held in 2005 in Prague.