Rapid analysis of soil properties and fertility using Mid Infrared Spectroscopy

Lead Applicant: Adam Gillespie

Research Priority: Soil Health

Program Type: Tier 1

Funding Cycle: 2023/2024

Research Centre: NA

Research Summary: Cost and turnaround time are two major barriers hampering the wide-scale adoption of soil testing. These limit the frequency and proper replication that soil testing requires to be robust and potentially misses important aspects of field variability. It also limits the suite of tests that farmers are willing to pay for. As a result, soil testing packages often omit tests, which are important in tracking soil health. Modern soil maps also require soil property data as inputs (i.e., texture, organic matter and pH). In both scenarios, a soil testing suite of a single sample can cost about $125. This project seeks to develop a rapid soil testing approach using spectroscopy, which is capable of simultaneously determining many relevant soil properties from a single analysis. This approach will remove the cost and time limitation that has limited the adoption of soil testing and delayed the development of new soil maps.