Dr. Zhenong Jin and Team Awarded $1.2million for Research in Soil Nutrient Management

October 12, 2020

BBE faculty member, Zhenong Jin will lead a $1.2 million grant to mitigate nutrient losses from the tile-drainage agricultural systems in the Midwest. The research team also includes Drs. Roger Ruan, Tianhong Cui, and David Mulla from UMN, and scientists from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). This award was made through the "Signals in the Soil (SitS)" solicitation, a collaborative partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). High crop productivity in the Midwestern US was achieved by artificially draining lands and applying millions of tons of nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) fertilizers. Given the pressing need to maintain crop production while mitigating negative environmental impacts, managing soil nutrients in a more sustainable and intelligent manner is a major challenge in this nationally and globally important agricultural region. This project will integrate recent advances in nanotechnology, sensing technology, and machine learning to enable new methods for measuring and managing N and P in croplands to reduce losses to the environment. The outcomes of this project can be used directly by farmers to better manage field application of N and P fertilizers and by local/federal governments and other organizations to pinpoint pollution hotspots and develop strategies for nutrient reduction.