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New technology to prevent nitrate run-off from agriculture

Researchers are to make 3D maps of the subsoil below agricultural areas to obtain detailed knowledge about the nitrogen need for the individual field.

2018.11.01 | Kim Harel

Researchers from Aarhus University have developed a new method that, by means of two sleds tied to a quad-bike, can make a 3D map of the subsoil at an unprecedented level of detail down to 50 metres. (Photo: AU Arkiv)

We have too much nitrogen in our aquatic environment, and most of it comes from agriculture. This is due to run-off after farmers fertilise their crops with more nitrogen than the field can absorb.

In a new project, researchers will develop a technology that makes it possible to determine the individual field’s ‘nitrogen capacity’ by mapping the subsoil in three dimensions down to a depth of 50 metres.

"We’ll make it possible to learn more about the nitrate sensitivity of the individual field and areas within the individual field, so that the farmer can spread fertilizer more accurately," says Jakob Juul Larsen, associate professor at the Department of Engineering, Aarhus University.

Jakob Juul Larsen is developing the signal processing technique that will make it possible to model data sufficiently accurately.

The project is being supported by DKK 18.9 million from Innovation Fund Denmark.


Read more about the project (in Danish)

AU Engineering