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Project name Smelling soil
Funding bodies CRC for High Performance Soils Ltd
Lead researcher Dr Shane Powell
Partners Birchip Cropping Group FarmLink Southern Farming Systems Soils for Life
Chief Investigators Professor Caroline Mohammed, Dr Marcus Hardie, Assoc/Prof Kathy Evans, Dr Ross Corkrey, Professor John Bowman
soil in hand

Farmers often intuitively assess soil by smell. There is strong evidence that the fingerprint of gases emitted from soil can identify the composition and activity of the microbial community which relates to soil health. Currently there are no field based sensors to diagnose soil health using aromas. An ‘electronic nose’ offers a solution to this problem.

This project will test a prototype eNose and a range of sensors to show “proof of concept” of this technology. The eNose will be co-developed with farmers to ensure that the technology is useful, usable and provides relevant information which is easily interpreted and understood by farmers themselves. Being able to do this will mean that farmers can make the right management decisions to improve crop performance and yield, especially in poor soils.