The CHAP soil health facilities at Cranfield University brings the latest scientific knowledge and understanding to 21st century farming. It will help to deliver more profitable farming, increased agricultural productivity, a greener environment, sustainable rural communities and a better diet for populations around the world.

These facilities are unique in allowing precision control and monitoring of soil, water, crop and climate conditions under a range of tillage operations. Supported by a leading team of soil and crop scientists this will enable farmers and agri-tech companies to develop and test innovative technologies to improve soil and crop health at pilot scale.

Our services include:

  • Replicating the whole crop production cycle (tillage, drilling, plant establishment, crop development, harvest and post-harvest) to test for optimum growing conditions.
  • Research data used to enhance the crop-protection qualities of soil, which are fundamental for resilient and sustainable crop health.
  • Investigating blackgrass control, effective cross-rotational use of cover and companion crops, optimising precision tillage for seedbed preparation, bio-remediation of soil structure, identification of quality traits/crop resilience markers, screening of germplasm challenged with specific soil conditions, and improved modelling of pesticide fate and resistance within soils.
  • Monitor root development using the CHAP root scanner over time non-destructively using the CHAP root scanner. The cameras are sensitive enough to observe root hairs in soil.
  • Testing the effect of rainfall intensity and soil surface sealing on seedling germination and emergence, as well as contamination on salad leaves arising from rain splash soil detachment using CHAP laser optical distrometer to calibrate the rainfall simulator to give representative storm events with realistic drop sizes, velocities and energy.

Contact details

To find out more, book a tour of our facilities or discuss a potential collaboration with us, please contact Cranfield by e-mail: agritech@cranfield.ac.uk