Specialist focus on nutrient loss hired

Dr Martha Trodahl

RAVENSDOWN has appointed Martha Trodahl as senior technical specialist and her role will be to focus on software that will help farmers reduce their nutrient loss.

Dr Trodahl has been working in the team at Victoria University to help develop the nitrogen and phosphorus tools in the Land Utilisation Capability Indicator (LUCI) modelling tool. It is a tool that will better identify losses from critical source areas (CSA) on-farm.

“Because of my work I’ve developed an interest in the agriculture sector and I can see the benefits of applying LUCI. I’m excited to be moving away from more of the academic work and into the practical applications and environmental benefits of LUCI,” Dr Trodahl says.

“It is a challenge to bring such a complex model from academia on to the farm.

“There’s a lot of testing that needs to be done in a variety of situations, for farms and locations that different Ravensdown customers have.

“There might be places where it works better than it does in another place. We need to tease out the issues and see if we can make it work at its best everywhere.”

One of the biggest hurdles for her work with the model has been a lack of data.

“Having good spatial data is one constraint and having good actual nitrogen and phosphorus measurements is another. We could do with a lot more frequent and long-term terrestrial and instream measurements across a variety of locations.”

The model’s complex algorithms provide insights from a broad catchment level right down into the key details on farm. Dr Trodahl is excited to bring the tool to farmers as the spatial element allows a more precise and detailed targeting of hot-spots and CSAs.

“That’s the beauty of LUCI, Overseer can give us broad detail at the block scale, but with LUCI we can look into the block and find specific locations to target,” she says.

“This means that farmers don’t have to say ‘somewhere in this block something is happening so we better apply a remedy over the whole block.’

“You can target the problem and putting your effort into a smaller area can be enough to remedy the issue.”

RAVENSDOWN has appointed Martha Trodahl as senior technical specialist and her role will be to focus on software that will help farmers reduce their nutrient loss.

Dr Trodahl has been working in the team at Victoria University to help develop the nitrogen and phosphorus tools in the Land Utilisation Capability Indicator (LUCI) modelling tool. It is a tool that will better identify losses from critical source areas (CSA) on-farm.

“Because of my work I’ve developed an interest in the agriculture sector and I can see the benefits of applying LUCI. I’m excited to be moving away from more of the academic work and into the practical applications and environmental benefits of LUCI,” Dr Trodahl says.

“It is a challenge to bring such a complex model from academia on to the farm.

“There’s a lot of testing that needs to be done in a variety of situations, for farms and locations that different Ravensdown customers have.

“There might be places where it works better than it does in another place. We need to tease out the issues and see if we can make it work at its best everywhere.”

One of the biggest hurdles for her work with the model has been a lack of data.

“Having good spatial data is one constraint and having good actual nitrogen and phosphorus measurements is another. We could do with a lot more frequent and long-term terrestrial and instream measurements across a variety of locations.”

The model’s complex algorithms provide insights from a broad catchment level right down into the key details on farm. Dr Trodahl is excited to bring the tool to farmers as the spatial element allows a more precise and detailed targeting of hot-spots and CSAs.

“That’s the beauty of LUCI, Overseer can give us broad detail at the block scale, but with LUCI we can look into the block and find specific locations to target,” she says.

“This means that farmers don’t have to say ‘somewhere in this block something is happening so we better apply a remedy over the whole block.’

“You can target the problem and putting your effort into a smaller area can be enough to remedy the issue.”

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