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Digital Agriculture: Enhancing Sustainability of Agricultural Systems

Bruno Basso, MSU Foundation Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, explains the importance of precision agriculture, and how digital mapping can help increase sustainability in crop production.

Basso’s research deals mainly with water, carbon, nitrogen cycling and modeling in agro-ecosystems, and spatial analysis of crop yield. Basso’s modeling research has focused on extending soil-crop-atmosphere models to spatial domains at the field scale, and in particular on developing, testing, and deploying SALUS, a next-generation process-based model that integrates crop productivity with water, carbon, and nutrient fluxes in a spatially explicit manner. Through this research, it has been possible to integrate the effects of topography and soil properties on soil water balance, and thereby partition surface vs. subsurface flows in different landscape positions. This has important value for better understanding and predicting nitrogen conservation patterns in cropped landscapes as well as soil carbon change – and has led to important insights for the likely effects of climate change on carbon and water footprints of future cropping systems, as noted in recent publications.

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