Precision fertilisation with animal manure

    KU Leuven
    Agricultural sciencesAgronomics
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    15/08/2019 23:59 - Europe/Brussels
    Belgium › Leuven

After several manure action plans the Flemish manure problem remains a hot topic. In the winter of 2016-2017, the nitrate level in the surface water still exceeded the 50 mg/L threshold in 21% of the measurement stations, while the threshold for orthophosphate was exceeded in 67%. The situation in the freatic ground water is not better with 34% of the measurement points exceeding the threshold for nitrate in 2016. This means that an increased effort is required to improve the nitrate and phosphate levels in the soil and surface waters. To minimize their environmental impact and maximize their rentability, Flemish farmers will have to apply their fertilizers where they are used in the most efficient way.  

While a vast amount of research has already been performed on technology for site specific fertilization, most farmers still apply a uniform dose within one field. When these nutrients are applied in the form of animal manure, the variation in manure composition from one load to another and even within one load leads to an uncontrolled variation in the dose applied in a specific part of the field.  

After many years of scientific research both in Flanders and internationally, the technology for mapping the variation in soil fertility within one field and for manure application based on on line composition measurement is ready for use by the farmers. However, the added value of these technologies has not yet been quantified sufficiently in terms of its impact on the yield and the environment to balance it against the investment.

Therefore, the aim of this research project in collaboration with the Belgian Soil Service and the Hooibeekhoeve is to evaluate this precision technology in different practical scenarios to provide the scientific evidence which can guide farmers in their transition to precision fertilisation. 



  • A fulltime PhD position for 1 year, which can be extended to 4 years after positive evaluation (in collaboration with our partner Belgian Soil Service)
  • A challenging job in a young, dynamic and multidisciplinary team with excellent supervision
  • State of the art research infrastructure
  • Competitive remuneration: https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en/phd-info

Eligibility criteria

MeBioS Biophotonics is looking for highly motivated candidates for this application oriented PhD project. Do you have a Master degree in Bioscience Engineering, Agricultural Engineering or equivalent?Do you have creative, critical, analytical and innovative mind and a heart for agriculture?Do you have strong oral and written communication skills?Then, you may be the perfect candidate to join our team. 

Selection process

For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Wouter Saeys, tel.: +32 16 32 85 27, mail: wouter.saeys@kuleuven.be.
You can apply for this job no later than 15/08/2019 via the online application tool

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Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven

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EURAXESS offer ID: 417218


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