During a visit to The Ohio State University in December, U.S. Department of Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack announced a $1.2 million award to fund a high clearance robotic irrigation system. The project, which aligns nutrient application timing to a crop’s nutrient needs to improve efficiency and reduce nutrient loss, will be led by Ohio State in collaboration with Iowa State University and 360 Yield Center.
This initiative is one of 19 projects funded by the USDA under the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. CIG is a competitive program that supports the development of new tools, approaches, practices and technologies to further natural resource conservation on private lands. These projects focus on helping agricultural producers mitigate the effects of climate change and increase the resilience of their operations.
“Innovation is key to addressing the climate crisis and conserving the natural resources we all depend on,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “CIG partners are using the latest science and research to come up with solutions that work for farmers, ranchers and foresters and help ensure the longevity of American agriculture.”
Scott Shearer, professor and chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Ohio State will serve as lead investigator for the project.
“The CIG funded project on high clearance robotic irrigation is an opportunity to bring together industry, universities and end users to validate the benefits of this technology for conserving water and nutrient resources in crop production while simultaneously protecting the environment,” said Shearer.
The team of researchers and industry collaborators will include Elizabeth Hawkins (Ohio State), John Fulton (Ohio State), Kevin King (USDA-Agricultural Research Service), Ramarao Venkatesh (Ohio State), Daniel Andersen (Iowa State), Kapil Arora (Iowa State), Matthew Helmers (Iowa State), Kelvin Keibold (Iowa State) and Justin Koch (360 Yield Center).
by Chip Tuson