Precision management of water and nitrogen in the Southern China


UK Partners:  Prof. Mathew WILLIAMS, University of Edinburgh

Chinese Partners: Prof. Liangsheng SHI, Wuhan University; Dr Kai HUANG, Guangxi Institute of Hydraulic Research


Project Summary: 

This project aims to develop a tool that can predict and diagnose crop response to water and nutrient related limits. This knowledge will guide crop management and help to inform stakeholders from across the arable supply chain about the best approaches for land management towards more sustainable and efficient production, using precision agriculture.

Our goal is to enhance sustainable and efficient production for two crops of major importance in Southern China, rice and sugar cane. We will work with Chinese partners, farmers and end users in the application and deployment of novel crop sensing, diagnostic technologies, and decision support system for irrigation and fertilization.

We will test remote sensing technologies, comparing UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) and satellites to sense leaf temperature, crop height and reflectance as indicators of yield reductions. We will create an advanced model of ecohydrological processes to provide a rich set of diagnostics related to the plant soil system, and forecast its sensitivity to management changes.

Our technologies will underpin a crop diagnostic system, indicating crop water and nutrient status, quantifying reductions to yield, that can be used at sub-field to farm scale. Working with farmers and industry, our technologies will be combined to generate a decision support tool, with capacity for (i) immediate (near-real time) mapping of crop stress, and its likely impact on crop yield and (ii) providing detailed spatial information on optimal management interventions to support decision making for sustainable high yield.