Plant Phenotyping and Soil Health Facility

The CHAP Soil Health Facility 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.

In addition, CHAP collaborates with Agri-EPI in the Soil Health Facility at Cranfield University, through the use of the glasshouse-based sensor platform.

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. This can be achieved using the glasshouse and our growth rooms;

Research data used to enhance the crop-protection qualities of soil, which are fundamental for resilient and sustainable crop health;

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, investigating blackgrass control, and improved modelling of pesticide fate and resistance within soils;

Monitor root development 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. The rainfall simulator can be calibrated with the CHAP laser optical distrometer to give representative rainfall events with realistic drop sizes, velocities and energy;


Collaboration with Agri-EPI to offer a glasshouse-based sensor platform for use in pilot scale growth trials and phenotyping.


For any further information about this capability or to discuss a collaboration and/or grant for a commercially funded project, complete the form below.

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