Iowa State University has developed soil sensors that can be BURIED under crops, revealing valuable information—like soil moisture.

This could help farmers understand carbon and nitrogen cycles within the soil and BETTER predict crop growth. More from EurekAlert:

Sensors could help farmers manage their nutrient and water resources. That could maximize yields and profits. And it could minimize environmental impacts.

“If nutrients are in excess of what’s needed, it doesn’t help the yield,” lead-researcher Ratnesh Kumar said. “Those resources just drain into the environment.”

Stuart Birrell, an Iowa State associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and a part of the sensor research team, said the project will provide the kind of real-time, high-resolution data that researchers and producers have been looking for.

“A challenge of precision agriculture is collecting data at a high enough resolution that you can make good decisions,” Birrell said. “These sensors would provide very high resolution data for producers and researchers. They would give us another data layer to explain differences in yield and help us make management decisions.”

The project is funded by a three-year, $239,999 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Via TreeHugger.