PhD studentship in Environmental Science - Optimizing PAM spray application to mitigate soil splash and capping

Application start and end date: 
23rd February 2018 to 15th April 2018
Full time
This is a fully funded studentship co-funded by Cranfield, SNF and Douglas Bomford Trust with £17.75k research consumables and travel budget, £16,250 per annum stipend and fees covered.
United Kingdom
Contract type: 
3 years

Two key challenges facing the horticultural sector are micro-contamination of baby leaf salads and field herbs and poor stand establishment of light seeded crops due to capping of the soil surface. Capping can impede seedling emergence, delay stand establishment and reduce plant populations impacting the quantity and quality of the final yield.

Contamination of baby leafy salads and field grown herbs with soil and/or pathogenic micro-organisms can result in a significant cost to the industry due to analysis costs, product wastage, delayed marketing (reduced shelf-life), supply restrictions, additional hygiene requirements and customer concerns.
The project will provide an oppurtunity for the student to build technicall and practical experience, as well as academic rigure, through an investigation of:

  • Optimum application rates and PAM formulations to prevent capping and mitigate soil splash on a range of crust susceptible soils,
  • seedling emergence and splash contamination trials,
  • Design and development of a PAM sprayer that can be readily retro-fitted to the back of a range of seed drills, d) Field trial assessment of optimal PAM formulations and application rates.

For further information please contact: Dr Lynda Deeks: or Dr Rob Simmons: