The research of one of the TMAF-supported PhD students has come to a close and the findings are now available to read and to learn from.
Joseph Martlew’s PhD research was undertaken through the School of Water, Energy and Environment at Cranfield University with sponsorship from TMAF. From the start, back in 2019, Joe was happy to explain why he chose to study subsoil compaction and what he intended to investigate. Over the course of his study we have regularly reported updates on his work, the methods used and the early results. And Joe has contributed his own news of progress.
How to quantify & alleviate subsoil compaction
The aim of Joe’s thesis was to determine the suitability of alternative methods to quantify and alleviate subsoil compaction in arable soils. He showed that:
- Repeated use of cover crops in winter wheat cultivation improved subsoil properties, especially when combined with reduced intensity and depth of cultivation.
- Cover crops were unable to mitigate the adverse effect of compacted subsoil on arable crop performance.
Careful measurement of impact of techniques
Studies of the suitability of electromagnetic conductivity soil scanning and visual soil evaluation methods showed strengths and weaknesses of either technique in terms of resolution, spatial scale and timescale required. A combination of techniques was determined to be the most beneficial for evaluating subsoil structure.
To understand the full scale and nature of this TMAF-supported research you can read Joe Martlew’s PhD abstract. The next phase of Joe’s career is with NIAB as Senior Specialist – Research Agronomist.