Avena+ Test Bed: Agricultural Printing and Altered Landscapes

2013 Jun

The project was made possible with the generous support of

Maximilian Erbgraf zu Königsegg-Aulendorf

Administrator Hofgut Stefansreute

Hubert Geser

Project Engineer

Lorenz Riegger

Advice and Special Thanks

Roland Groß

Tractor Driver

Stefan Riegger

Farming Contractor

LU Peter Boos

Aerial Footage

Florian Vögtle


Hermann Benkler

The agricultural machinery was generously provided by

AGCO, Massey Ferguson, HORSCH Maschinen GmbH,
Agrom Agrar- und Kommunaltechnik GmbH

Drone / Aerial Footage / Co-Editing


Avena+ Test Bed explores the relationship between landscape, agriculture and digital fabrication.

With the advent of Precision Farming, agriculture has become fully mapped and will transform farming to a highly digital activity. This in combination with other changes underway in the countryside, mainly the paradigm shift from food to biogas production and various EU subsidy schemes to promote diversity, will lead to disruptive changes within the next few years for the (European) countryside.

The project uses the idea of “Agricultural Printing” to explore the possibilities of digital fabrication carried over into farming. The experiment applies algorithms to partition and to create an environmentally beneficial structure into a standard biomass/energy production field. These additional areas establish, or improve, the connectivity for fauna and flora between habitats. This increased diversity also eases typical problems of monocultures e.g. less vermin → reduced usage of pesticides. Furthermore a farmer could “rent out” the areas for several months a year as compensatory area in the same fashion like the CO2 emissions trading scheme works (in the EU every new land for building has to be compensated). Hence in the near future a farmer might not just produce oats, peas, beans, and barley, but also print “environment compensations areas” into his fields.

Final "Agricultural Printing" pattern
Final "Agricultural Printing" pattern
Plant pixel map as printed to the field
Plant pixel map as printed to the field

The overall aim of the project is to look into the potential these changes (already underway), especially in terms of design opportunities. The emphasis lays in speculating about new models which would enhance current agricultural practices, and to then imagine their possible implications.

End of July 2013 the test bed was harvested for producing biogas.

85% oats (Avena Sativa)
15% eleven different flowers and herbs

11.5 hectares (320 m x 920 m) in Unterwaldhausen, South Germany

Printing with seed
Printing with seed
External GPS/GLONASS reference station for maximum accuracy
External GPS/GLONASS reference station for maximum accuracy


Avena+ Test Bed @ Landscape Architecture 风景园林


"Avena+ Test Bed", featured on Landscape Architecture (风景园林, Fengjing Yuanlin, ISSN 1673-1530)


Avena+ Test Bed @ Feral Experimental - New Design Thinking, UNSW Galleries, Paddington, AU


Exhibition, “Avena+ Test Bed”, Feral Experimental: New Design Thinking, UNSW Galleries, Paddington, AU


Reading and Writing Landscape @ Chaos Computer Club Easterhegg 2014


Speaker, “Reading and Writing Landscape”, Chaos Computer Club Easterhegg 2014, Stuttgart, DE


Nomination RCA Sustain Award


Nomination, Sustain RCA Award, UK


Reading and Writing Landscape @ The World 2.0, CPH:DOX, Copenhagen


Speaker, “Reading and Writing Landscape”, The World 2.0 – Do It Together, CPH:DOX, Copenhagen, DK


Avena+ Test Bed @ WIRED


Feature Article, “Avena+ Test Bed”, Wired Magazine UK, October Issue, UK



Avena+ Test Bed @ Sustain RCA Show 2013, London


Exhibition, “Avena+ Test Bed”, Sustain RCA Show 2013, Royal College of Art, London, UK


Test_Lab - The Graduation Edition @ V2_ & The New Institute, Rotterdam


Speaker, Test_Lab: The Graduation Edition 2013, V2_ & The New Institute, Rotterdam, NL