SoilMate’s Weekly News Digest #13
It’s time for our Agtech & FoodTech News Digest, like always, every Friday!
Scientists propose improvements to precision crop irrigation.
A new study led by the University of Illinois identifies the barriers and the solutions to increase the productivity of the fields and to implement the watering decision-making tools.
According to a study, just a few farmers are using a science-based tool in the irrigation process. The researchers were first to develop a way to combine high-resolution and high-frequency data into one unified high spatial-temporal resolution product to help control soil and crop conditions.
Scientists say they can help farmers get a fully scalable solution remotely, which could be a revolutionary technology for farmers. “Not only in the U.S. but also smallholder farmers in developing countries,” said Kaiyu Guan, project leader on the study.
Genetically modified grass can clean soils of toxic pollutants left by military explosives.
A study by the University of York demonstrates that genetically modified switchgrass can neutralize military explosives, RDX, left behind at live-fire ranges, ammunition dumps, and minefields.
RDX was a crucial component of ammunition since World War II and is still widely used on military training grounds. Today, this use has led to widespread groundwater pollution.
The study authors believe this is the first successful example of using a genetically modified plant to remove organic pollutants resistant to environmental degradation.
Research: soil health practices boost incomes, cut costs & increase resilience
The Soil Health Institute and Cargill announced last year that they would conduct a study to further understand the business case for implementing soil health practices on farms.
Soil Health Institute recently published the first results of this study. Based on data collection and interviews with 100 farms from the nine states, SHI concluded that soil health practices implementation resulted in an increase in net income for 85% of corn farmers and 88% of soybean farmers. They also cut their average cost per acre, lowering $24 per acre for corn and $17 per acre for soybeans, and increased their net income by an average of $52 and $45 per acre for corn and soybeans, respectively.
One robot could reduce the risk for farmers in grain bins.
Two engineering students from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln were awarded the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for the invention that helps keep grain farmers safe.
Farmers are aware of the dangers of working in grain bins. There are a lot of films made to warn of the risks and many initiatives by various organizations to raise awareness of these dangers, such as a trap.
The Grain Weevil is a small robot designed to store grain, eliminating the need for farmers to enter bins. The robot is a 30-pound remote-controlled robot that uses augers and gravity to level grain and redistribute it throughout the bin. It is portable, waterproof, and dustproof. If buried accidentally, it can dig up to 5 feet of grain.