Grant awarded: USDA NIFA funds grant to develop improved soil nitrate monitoring approach

Jingyi Huang (Soil Science, PI) and Joseph Andrews (Mechanical Engineering, co-PI) were recently awarded a grant through USDA NIFA to develop an improved soil sensor system to monitor nitrate leaching. The award will provide $299,800 over two years. The project involves combining affordable multi-functional multi-depth soil sensors and soil process models for real-time in situ nitrate leaching monitoring and water quantity and quality management.

Different from existing soil sensors that only provide depth-specific soil nitrate concentrations, the combination of coupled soil moisture-nitrate-temperature measurements at multiple depths with nitrate leaching models calibrated for different soil texture classes can monitor in-season nitrate leaching and improve understanding of nitrate transport in soils of different textures and management practices. Project outputs will guide stakeholders to use cost-effective sensors for irrigation, fertilization and manure application to improve agricultural productivity and reduce environmental pollution.