Quantifying and alleviating deep seated compaction in arable soils

Cranfield University
In Bedfordshire

Price on request
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Important information

Typology PhD
Location Bedfordshire
Start Different dates available
  • PhD
  • Bedfordshire
  • Start:
    Different dates available

This project will seek to improve methods for quantifying and alleviating deep seated compaction at greater depths, of up to 60 cm. Techniques for loosening compact soils are well established to operate to depths of up to 45 cm, although experimental evidence on their benefits to yield and soil structure are varied. There appears, therefore, to be a need to improve methods for the assessment and evaluation of the degree of compaction at greater depths, of up to 60 cm, and to improve our understanding of its impact on crop performance. The characterisation of soil compaction with depth is a key requirement to managing soil compaction at depth. This PhD project will expand the applicability of a prototype multi-sensor to measure soil compaction in the topsoil to quantify soil compaction through the soil profile to a depth of up to 60 cm utilising NIAB’s established contemporary tillage experiments (New Farming Systems (NFS) and Sustainability Trial in Arable Rotations (STAR). Further field experiments will then develop and test this prototype multi-sensor to quantify soil compaction through the soil profile. Due to the limitations of mechanical alleviation of soil compaction below the critical depth, the impact of mitigation approaches (including a range of cover crops species and duration of residence) on soil structure, crop performance and yield will be quantified. Previous scientific literature has reported that the roots of some brassica and legume cover crops may also play a role in penetrating and loosening the soil below the cultivated layers of the soil, even below the layers that can be lifted by a subsoiler. Upon completion it is envisaged this study will provide practical information and financial analysis on which systems would deliver the greatest return to growers for managing deep seated compaction. The project would also provide an engineering-based tool that would allow for quantifying soil compaction through the...


Where and when

Starts Location
Different dates available
Cranfield University Cranfield, MK43 0AL, Bedfordshire, England
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Starts Different dates available
Cranfield University Cranfield, MK43 0AL, Bedfordshire, England
See map

What you'll learn on the course


Course programme


and Nathan Morris

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honour degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as soil mechanics, sensing and agronomy. We are seeking a qualified agricultural engineer, mechanical engineer, soil scientist or geologist, who is interested in soil management and land use, geo-statistics, sensors, and field work.

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