Predicting Cobalt deficiency in sheep using soil geochemical data​

Investigator(s): British Geological Survey/Geological Survey of Ireland
Funder: EU INTERREG IVA -funded Tellus Border project/British Geological Survey/Geological Survey of Ireland

This project addresses the ‘information gap’ that exists in translating regional geochemical data into outputs directly useful to the agricultural sector. A number of pressing objectives including Food Harvest 2020 require farmers to increase productivity and this study shows how soil chemistry data could be used to contribute to meeting quality and quantity targets, particularly with regard to micro‐nutrients. Using cobalt as an example, the study applied existing Teagasc soil threshold values for sheep to Tellus soil geochemical maps to identify areas in the border region of Ireland where a cobalt deficiency in sheep is likely to occur. To address problems of uncertainty in communicating mapped results, probabilistic outputs using a verbal and numerical communication scale were developed. Opportunities exist to apply this approach to the prediction of other important micronutrients and to inform farm-level land-management decisions.

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Geophysical remote sensing of subsurface properties for sustainable agricultural management

Investigator: Dr Eve Daly, NUI Galway
Funder: Geological Survey Ireland Short Call 2017

This proof of concept project will start by integrating airborne and ground geophysics with remote sensing to access surface and subsurface permeability variations over a Teagasc Agricultural Catchment which is covered by existing Tellus data, in the context of agricultural management. The project will explore the best methods to then upscale to Water Framework Directive scale catchments and the tools and international collaborations needed to build a functional land management tool for the sustainable management of agricultural intensification envisioned in Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025.
This multidisciplinary proposal is aligned with three Short Call research themes:

  1. Geophysics
  2. Groundwater Resources and Protection
  3. Quaternary Geology of Ireland

The project will develop a new research programme covering hydrogeophysics, soil science and catchment science building on expertise gained in the 2007 Griffith Geoscience Award to NUIG and develop the recent collaborations between Teagasc (Ireland's Agricultural and food development authority) and NUIG and the Geological Survey of Ireland.

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