Xiaobo Tan, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will participate in a new $1.75M NSF Smart and Connected Communities grant. The project, led by Iowa State University, is titled “SCC-IRG Track 1: Connecting Farming Communities for Sustainable Crop Production and Environment Using Smart Agricultural Drainage Systems”.

In the US, agricultural drainage infrastructure benefits >22.6 Mha of cropland and is valued at ~$100B. As a proportion of total croplands, drained croplands produce a disproportionately large amount of grain but also release a disproportionately large amount of eutrophying nutrients to aquatic ecosystems. Climate change and agricultural intensification are causing farmers to increase the extent and intensity of drainage leading to a pressing need to balance productivity, profitability, and environmental quality when making drainage decisions. This project will develop an integrated decision-making platform to facilitate community decision making for precise prediction and management of drainage effects on water flow, crop production, farm net returns, and nutrient loss. MSU’s role is to develop a soft robotic snake platform, which will crawl in the underground drainage pipes and collect measurements of nitrate concentration, water flow, and pipe conditions.

More information: (project abstract: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=2125484)