Researchers at the University of Maryland and Columbia University have developed a new soil testing kit designed to help farmers in third world countries.
On-the-spot soil testing could have major impact in improving crop yields due to poor soils. The kit contains battery-operated instruments and safe materials for agricultural extension agents to handle in the field.
They can test for the availability of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and potassium, as well as active organic matter, and certain soil physical limitations. The raw results of the tests are sent by cell phone to a central website. Then, calculations are made and recommendations are delivered back to the extension agent.
The kit, called SoilDoc, is the culmination of several years of work in Africa by Ray Weil, PhD. Weil, a soil scientist, spent his 2009 sabbatical working with the Millennium Villages Project in the some of the poorest areas of Africa. He started carrying common soil testing items in his backpack, but found he needed more. Back in the US, he discovered items used for testing home aquariums that would also work for soil tests.
Upon returning to Africa, he adapted them with good results, carrying a larger toolkit. A colleague, Pedro Sanchez, a well-known scientist fighting world hunger, suggested that Weil create a product around his homemade kit. Sanchez brought the resources of Columbia University’s Ag and Food Security Center to bear on the project.
A post-doctoral researcher at Sanchez’s Center, Lydiah Gatere, recently rolled out the SoilDoc product. She trained 16 Tanzanian and Nigerian extension personnel. The group plans to conduct more training workshops in 2014 for Tanzania, Nigeria and possibly additional countries. Their vision is to train the trainers: thousands of extension agents, many with little more than a high school education, will then be consultants. They will be ready to diagnose soil fertility problems and offer recommendations to many thousands of “smallholder farmers.” These farmers work on less than 5 acres. The ultimate goal is to significantly increase crop production and food security in Africa.
Gatere will present “Field Kit Soil Tests to Assess Acidity, N, P, S and K Fertility in Kenyan Soils” on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 at 2:45 PM. The presentation is part of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America Annual Meetings, Nov. 3-6 in Tampa, Florida. The theme of this year’s conference is “Water, Food, Energy, & Innovation for a Sustainable World” (www.acsmeetings.org).Media Invitation
If you would like a 1-on-1 interview with Drs. Weil or Gatere, contact Susan Fisk at the above email.
Susan Fisk | Newswise
Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
13.02.2018 | Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
Sweet route to greater yields
08.02.2018 | Rothamsted Research
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy