PhD - Quantifying and Alleviating Deep Seated Compaction in Arable Soils

Cranfield University - AgriFood

Application Deadline: ASAP
Start Date: ASAP
Eligibility: UK / EU
Duration of award: 3 years
Ref: CRAN1092

Prof Wilfred Otten –Professor of Soil Biophysics at Cranfield Soil and Agrifood institute
Dr Sarah De Baets – Lecturer Plant Soil Systems
Dr. Nathan Morris – Farming Systems and Soil Specialist at NIAB TAG

Sponsored by Felix Thornley Cobbold Agricultural Trust and Chadacre Agricultural Trust, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £15,000 - £ 18,000 p.a. (tax free) plus fees* for three years

Cranfield University, in collaboration with the National Institute of Agricultural Botany is seeking a highly motivated graduate to undertake this exciting research project which aims to deploy a previously developed portable multi-sensor kit for the measurement of soil compaction through the soil profile, to be used as input data for soil loosening recommendations.

This project will seek to improve methods for quantifying and alleviating deep seated compaction at greater depths, of up to 60 cm. Techniques for loosening compact soils are well established to operate to depths of up to 45 cm, although experimental evidence on their benefits to yield and soil structure are varied.

This PhD project will expand the applicability of a prototype multi-sensor to measure soil compaction in the topsoil to quantify soil compaction through the soil profile to a depth of up to 60 cm utilising NIAB’s established contemporary tillage experiments (New Farming Systems (NFS) and Sustainability Trial in Arable Rotations (STAR).

Further field experiments will then develop and test this prototype multi-sensor to quantify soil compaction through the soil profile.

Upon completion it is envisaged this study will provide practical information and financial analysis on which systems would deliver the greatest return to growers for managing deep seated compaction. The project would also provide an engineering-based tool that would allow for quantifying soil compaction through the soil profile to a depth of up to 60 cm.

The student will be based at the Cranfield Soil and AgriFood Institute, at the School of Energy, Environment and AgriFood. All study sites and experimental work will take place at NIAB experimental fields in East Anglia. This will require the student to work in close collaboration with staff at NIAB. He/she will need to present their research findings regularly to the project team.

Entry requirements:
Applicants should have a first or second class UK honor degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as soil mechanics, sensing and agronomy. We are seeking a qualified agricultural engineer, mechanical engineer, soil scientist or geologist, who is interested in soil management and land use, geo-statistics, sensors, and field work.   

* To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK or EU national.

How to apply:
If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form. Please quote the research title and reference number: CRAN1092

For further information:
T: +44 (0)1234 758082

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