Project properties

Title Smart farm management: perspectives on sensoring technologies
Group Water Resources Management group
Project type thesis
Credits 36
Supervisor(s) Gerlo Borghuis and/or Saskia van der Kooij
Examiner(s)
Contact info gerlo.borghuis@wur.nl
Begin date 2021/01/01
End date 2021/09/01
Description Country: The Netherlands
Host institute: WUR & Royal Eijkelkamp
Begin date: First quarter 2021
End date: Third quarter 2021

Problem context
With increasing droughts in the Netherlands, it becomes urgent to re-think on-farm water management strategies. To ensure good harvests supplementary irrigation becomes essential in certain years, for which farmers need to pump water from groundwater wells or open water bodies. Meanwhile, regional irrigation bans can cause farmers to have no option but to let their crops suffer from drought stress. Using water precariously, hence ensuring good harvest and avoiding the need for regional irrigation bans becomes crucial.

New information technologies offer the potential to improve on-farm water management. Through soil moisture sensors, sensors on leaves or through satellite data, one could potentially measure different water flows and -uses on the farm. These sensoring technologies are often combined with precision irrigation. All different sensoring and monitoring technologies measure soil- or plant moisture from different perspectives, highlighting different aspects of water use.

Research Objective/Question
How water should be used precariously (increasing water use efficiency, increasing water productivity, saving water?) is open for contestation, and depends from ones perspective. For example, for regional water authorities water saving is a major goal, while for farmers water productivity could have priority. In this MSc thesis project, we would like students to link different sensoring technologies to different perspectives on using water precariously. For example, do certain sensors implicitly favour water productivity over water saving, or vice versa? And which sensoring technologies fits best with the aspirations and practices of Dutch farmers?

What is expected from the student (type of research)
This research can use the facilities of the Innofields experimental plots from Eijkelkamp where different sensoring technologies are tested. Possible methods include: interviews, farmer visits to innofields, measurements at innofields, group discussions, literature review.
Used skills Field trial, literature review, interviews
Requirements MSc student, possibility to travel to test location in Giesbeek