Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Kew provides climate for agricultural change

28.05.2008
A device to help some of the most impoverished farmers in Africa maximise their crop yields is being tested at London’s Kew Gardens.

Developed by engineers at the University of Leeds, the sensor device gathers data on air temperature, humidity, air pressure, light, and soil moisture and temperature – information crucial to making key agricultural decisions about planting, fertilisation, irrigation, pest and disease control and harvesting.

It is being tested by Kew’s Diploma students and staff over the next four months in the School of Horticulture’s new student vegetable garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The sensors are monitoring conditions around some typical crops to test possible future applications.

The Leeds team has been working with two Kenyan villages to develop the technology as part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Village E-Science for Life (VESEL) project, a collaboration of key research groups in the UK and Kenya. The project aims to apply advanced digital technology to improve quality of life, both through its use in education and to optimise agricultural practices.

“In some areas of Kenya, localised variations in growing conditions can cause severe fluctuations in crop yields. Our part of the VESEL project is about providing the right information at the right time to farmers,” says Professor Jaafar Elmirghani from the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. “This means they can use available water more efficiently, minimising wastage and helping to optimise their harvests to feed their families.”

The information is fed back via a wireless network to a central hub, or server, which will be located at the village school, and is then sent to agriculture experts who will provide advice to assist farmers’ decisions. The ongoing data gathered will also feed into agricultural teaching at Kenyan schools, which forms a central part of the education system.

During the tests at Kew, the data collected by the device will be sent back to the University of Leeds, but ultimately, the management of the system will be handed over to the University of Nairobi. “This information will also inform research at the University of Nairobi - and ultimately, we hope, inform agricultural policy in Kenya”, says Professor Elmirghani. “It’s crucial that the work of the project can be sustained long term to benefit future generations.”

“We’re pleased to put these devices through their paces and give feedback to the project. Our students are keen to learn about emerging technologies, especially with such clear sustainability goals as the VESEL project”, says Kew scientist , Rowan Blaik.

The tests are expected to be complete by Autumn 2008, after which time the devices are initially to be trialled in the two Kenyan villages. “We hope that, during 2009 and beyond, the technology will be rolled out to other communities,” says Professor Elmirghani.

Jo Kelly | alfa
Further information:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From Hannover around the world and to the Mars: LZH delivers laser for ExoMars 2020

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material

21.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos

21.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>