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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-03-01 - 2025-02-28

In arable farming, there is a long-term market-driven trend toward simplification of crop rotations. Still, several studies indicate that resilience of yield against unfavourable environmental conditions, becoming more frequent due to climate change (heat, drought, heavy rainfall), is improved by diverse crop systems. A major reason for the high potential of biodiverse cropping systems is the correlation between plant diversity, soil microbial diversity and soil fertility. However, there is still insufficient knowledge on the practical implementation of cropping systems that can specifically promote soil biodiversity and their potentials to improve soil fertility. The main objective of this EIP-AGRI project is to implement cropping systems that can exploit the positive effects of soil microbial diversity for climate change adapted agriculture by increasing the soil health of arable soils and making them more resilient to challenging environmental conditions.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2021-07-01 - 2024-06-30

Currently, there is a high expectation that biostimulants can contribute to sustainable intensification by strengthening the ability of plants to use natural resources. Thus, the market for biostimulants is growing rapidly. However, there is not yet a comprehensive testing scheme to demonstrate the mode of action of biostimulants and effectively predict the likelihood of a positive yield effect. This project therefore aims to develop a test method for plant physiological and soil biological effects of biostimulants and their effects on yield. It combines studies at three scales, these include i) laboratory-based characterization of products and high-throughput molecular assays, ii) glasshouse-based study of root, rhizosphere and plant physiological processes, and iii) field-scale study of yield and stress resistance effects. The project combines methods from molecular biology (stress markers), plant physiology (hormones, isotope methods), plant science (root analysis, nutrient uptake), and soil science (microbial community analysis and activity, soil organic carbon input). It is expected that the results will provide improved insights into how biostimulants work. Specifically, how they contribute to the promotion of plant growth and stress resistance, and the main underlying physiological and soil biological mechanisms. The project aims to provide effective methods for analyzing these effects to enable standardization of product testing and reliable market information for customers.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-01-01 - 2023-12-31

In the context of climate change, agriculture is facing some of the greatest challenges in its history. digital.twin.plant is the first project in Austria to research the virtual mapping (Digital Twin) of plants and the optimisation of yield and resource use (water, fertiliser, etc.) through tailored prediction models and decision tools. The system enables its users to simulate processes such as crop growth, phenology, harvest time, yield, water demand, and fertiliser requirement etc. and thus make better agricultural decisions. In the sense of the Digital Twin, growth-optimising actions can be triggered automatically on the basis of the forecast models via a specially constructed test site using sensor technology and robotics (e.g. fertilisation and irrigation). In addition, users can provide feedback on the quality of the forecasts and thus contribute to improving the forecast models.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations