PhD: PRECISION FERTILISATION WITH ANIMAL MANURE

01 July 2019

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Interested?

For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Wouter Saeys, tel.: +32 16 32 85 27, mail: wouter.saeys@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than August 15, 2019 via the online application tool
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

Apply before 15 August 2019

The basic research is focused on the development of new optical measurement systems, while the applied research combines novel sensing technologies with advanced statistical methods for quality monitoring and process optimisation in the agrofood sector in close collaboration with its industrial partners. 

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Project

After several manure action plans the Flemish manure problem remains a hot topic. In the winter of 2016-2017, the nitrate level in the surface water still exceeded the 50 mg/L threshold in 21% of the measurement stations, while the threshold for orthophosphate was exceeded in 67%. The situation in the freatic ground water is not better with 34% of the measurement points exceeding the threshold for nitrate in 2016. This means that an increased effort is required to improve the nitrate and phosphate levels in the soil and surface waters. To minimize their environmental impact and maximize their rentability, Flemish farmers will have to apply their fertilizers where they are used in the most efficient way.  

While a vast amount of research has already been performed on technology for site specific fertilization, most farmers still apply a uniform dose within one field. When these nutrients are applied in the form of animal manure, the variation in manure composition from one load to another and even within one load leads to an uncontrolled variation in the dose applied in a specific part of the field.  

After many years of scientific research both in Flanders and internationally, the technology for mapping the variation in soil fertility within one field and for manure application based on on line composition measurement is ready for use by the farmers. However, the added value of these technologies has not yet been quantified sufficiently in terms of its impact on the yield and the environment to balance it against the investment.

Therefore, the aim of this research project in collaboration with the Belgian Soil Service and the Hooibeekhoeve is to evaluate this precision technology in different practical scenarios to provide the scientific evidence which can guide farmers in their transition to precision fertilisation. 


Profile

MeBioS Biophotonics is looking for highly motivated candidates for this application oriented PhD project. 
Do you have a Master degree in Bioscience Engineering, Agricultural Engineering or equivalent?
Do you have creative, critical, analytical and innovative mind and a heart for agriculture?
Do you have strong oral and written communication skills?
Then, you may be the perfect candidate to join our team. 

Offer
  • A fulltime PhD position for 1 year, which can be extended to 4 years after positive evaluation (in collaboration with our partner Belgian Soil Service)
  • A challenging job in a young, dynamic and multidisciplinary team with excellent supervision
  • State of the art research infrastructure
  • Competitive remuneration: https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en/phd-info.