Volume 61 • Fall 2012 • Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
Extended newsletter articles A new Dean for CEAT ........................................................................................................ Page 1 Technology rising: Sensing a better way ................................................................ Pages 2- 3 Alumnus earns Purdue agriculture research honor ..................................................... Page 4
Tikalsky named College of Engineering, Architecture & Technology Dean The OSU/A&M Board of Regents approved the appointment of Dr. Paul J. Tikalsky as dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Friday during its regular meeting in Miami. Tikalsky is currently the Civil and Environmental Engineering department head at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Tikalsky will assume the role of CEAT Dean on July 1. He also will hold a tenured appointment as Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an adjunct appointment in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at OSU. “OSU is pleased to welcome Paul Tikalsky to lead our College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology,” said OSU Provost Bob Sternberg. “He is highly accomplished in his field of expertise and will bring a fresh vision to the college.” “I look forward to working alongside the CEAT team as we continue to develop the college into a great place of learning and discovery,” said Tikalsky. “I have a passion for students. I love to see them realize that science, math, business and art can be used together to invent new technologies, solve environmental problems, design bridges and buildings, improve public health, preserve resources and make our lives better.” Tikalsky received his B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to his position at the University of Utah, Tikalsky served as a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Penn State University for more than a decade, and was professor of Civil Engineering at Santa Clara University from 1989-1995. “My background in civil and environmental engineering, as well as my work in structural materials and industrial byproduct utilization, is highly interdisciplinary in nature,” said Tikalsky. “These collaborative skills will help as the OSU CEAT team works together to solve large problems that improve our world and drive the Oklahoma economy.” Tikalsky has been a Senior Research Fellow with the Czech National Academy of Sciences, and the US Army Corp of Engineers. He is a Fellow of the Engineering Academy of the Czech Republic, a registered professional engineer in the State of California, and a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Tikalsky has received numerous awards including Utah Engineering Educator of the year, is a trained ABET Program Evaluator, and was recognized for Best Paper/Presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Durability of Building Materials and Components in Porto, Portugal. He and his wife, Julie, have two sons; Peter age 11, and Daniel age 10. Written by: OSU Media
Technology rising: Sensing a better way The need Faculty from Oklahoma State University’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering and the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences has been collaborating more than 20 years to improve Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in the U.S. and around the world. Leading this effort at are Marvin Stone, biosystems and agricultural engineering Regents professor; John Solie, biosystems and agricultural engineering emeritus professor; Bill Raun, plant and soil sciences Regents professor and Walter R. Sitlington Chair in Agriculture; and Brian Arnall, plant and soil sciences assistant professor. “We really began working on this project in 1991,” Raun said. “That is when Drs. Solie and Stone came to me and asked if there was one tool they could build to help agronomic practices what would it be? I told them it would be something to deliver indirect measurement of plant biomass. We needed something that can tell us the nutrient values and needs of a plant that could be used across the world.” With their combined international experience and work efforts, they knew that there was a need for a device that could be used to improve NUE. “When I worked in other countries I could tell that there was always a technology gap among the tools available for agronomic use,” Raun recalled. This need has led to the development of a low-cost optical sensor that measures the normalized difference vegetative index (NDVI), and that can determine a growing crop’s nitrogen needs–the GreenSeeker sensor.
The collaboration “I believe this project provides a model for the University, Government and Industry demonstrating that joint work can be beneficial to the missions of each,” Stone said. “This project leverages intellectual property developed within the university to the benefit of farmers as well as to the benefit of the company producing the product.” A key partner in this development is the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). With this organization the OSU team was able to develop trials and test equipment in Mexico and other third world country regions. Other collaborators and partners include Mike Thralls with the Oklahoma Conservation Commission (OCC), the Soil Fertility Research and Education Advisory Board with oversight from Joe Neal Hampton, the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, and the State of Oklahoma. The original GreenSeeker was mounted on machinery, a sprayer. It was developed
with a group that originally included NTech Industries. NTech was eventually purchased by Trimble to create a new partnership. Due to the success of this teamwork and innovation, farmers have access to an affordable technology that can have a significant effect on their bottom line. The adoption of this technology by farmers will improve nitrogen use efficiency significantly, which reduces the impact of excess nitrogen fertilizer on the environment–a particular goal of the OCC, Marvin added. “This has been a huge team effort, and not just faculty,” Raun said. “I have had all but two of my 66 graduate students working on this project. “Drs. Solie and Stone have had at least 30, and then there are our partnering companies and their employees and students.” According to Raun, Stone has been an unselfish partner in this project. “It is because of this approach that this is such a success,” Raun added. “When you have a group of people who are only worried about an end result and never the credit
Picture above Researchers collect data in fields using an earlier model of the GreenSeeker. At left and right: The current GreenSeeker hand held unit.
or amount of money they will receive, then you can have a great thing. That is how this worked.” This has always been a joint vision, to develop this product, Raun added. “Working with this team has been a joy and it continues to be something fun that I am blessed to do.” A global vision leadership approach was provided by Solie’s contributions. “He always had a big picture aspect,” Raun added. “In addition, Arnall has been instrumental in responding to the issues raised with this technology development process.” “We’ve had nine patents from this product development,” Raun said. “But at the end of the day, it isn’t the papers you write or the plaques on the wall. It is about the fact that there is now a product in a farmer’s hand that can be used in Oklahoma, Mexico or any other place in the world that is making farming practices more efficient. That’s the bottom line.” BAE, PaSS, and GreenSeeker/Trimble have had to work closely together as a team to allow the technology to be realized. “Each has brought elements to the team without which success could not have happened. Within the University a
spirit of respect among the participants had to be developed and maintained,” Stone said.
Getting it to the farmer According to Arnall, this product will provide farmers an accurate top-dress Nitrogen rate recommendation that can take into account how the plant is doing and what how much Nitrogen the soil may have provided or tied up during the winter. “The hand held is extremely easy to use,” Arnall said. “In addition, our research shows that using the sensor and N-Rich strip on 50 acres of winter wheat will pay for the handheld ($10/acre/ year).” In the field, the producer or consultant will have to collect two readings per field; one over the N-Rich strip and one over the area next to the strip. To get a reading the individual will pull the trigger while walking in the strip.
The first prototype that was made for machinery mounting was eventually adapted for “hand-held” and costs $4,000. “This had the same sensor as the machinemounted, except it was on a long bar to hover over the crop,” Stone said. “Many of these are distributed in the state at county extension offices. County educators are using them to help make recommendations for local farmers and their application needs. The average gain is $10 - $20/acre when using the information provided by this technology.” The current version is low-tech; and for a reason. “I wanted this to be less than $500 for the producers,” Arnall said. “Eventually there will probably be a version that can save data from the field. Most farmers don’t need the data. Researchers need the data.”
Now that the technology is transferred to Trimble and a commercial product is available, the pocket sensor project is done. “Now the education of users and encouragement of adoption of the technology continues,” Stone said. Future goals are to improve the adoption of sensor based fertility management in Oklahoma and worldwide.
Picture above Researchers collect data in fields using an various models of the GreenSeeker. At right: The GreenSeeker mounted on a sprayer. Another project Dr. Raun is working on with fellow PaSS and BAE faculty and students, including BAE’s Randy Taylor, includes a planting mechanism for third-world countries to increase yield potential and environmental benefits. To learn more about this project visit http://nue.okstate.edu/Hand_Planter.htm. Click here for more information about the GreenSeeker technology and collaboration. http://nue.okstate.edu/Pocket_Sensor/Pocket_Sensor.htm http://www.ntechindustries.com/greenseeker_faqs.html#2
Alumnus Indrajeet Chaubey earns Purdue’s Agricultural Research Award Indrajeet Chaubey, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering, is the winner of Purdue University's 2012 Agricultural Research Award for his work in helping to preserve water as a natural resource. The award is given each year to a faculty member in the College of Agriculture with less than 15 years of experience beyond a doctoral degree. It is for scientists who have demonstrated a high level of excellence in research and made significant contributions to agriculture, natural resources and quality of life for Indiana citizens. "Dr. Chaubey develops interdisciplinary teams to answer fundamental questions related to water use, availability and management that can be translated into tools that help us develop a safe, clean and secure water supply for the future," said Karen Plaut, associate dean and director of Purdue Agricultural Research
Programs "Dr. Chaubey's work helps us to protect one of our most precious natural resources–water–and as a result, he has made contributions that improve the planet for all of us." Chaubey, an ecohydrologist, studies how landuse changes due to demand for biofuel production, agricultural intensification and urbanization affect water availability, water quality and ecosystems. He develops models that can be used to improve water quality and watershed management, specifically with non-point source pollution, in which rainfall and runoff carry pollutants to water. "Indrajeet has made exceptional contributions in the areas of soil and water engineering through his research that combines field experimentation and computer modeling to evaluate runoff, sediment, and nutrient transport, and developing monitoring strategies to enhance water quality," said Jay Akridge, Purdue's Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. "He is most deserving of our college's top research award." Chaubey became interested in water as a child growing up in rural India, watching his grandfather struggle to farm on land that constantly flooded, and from learning about the importance of water and the significant impact it can have on people. "If you look at the history of how human civilization has developed, it is all tied to water," Chaubey said. "Things like access to clean water have been major players in improving our lives." The award includes a plaque, a $1,500 award from the Charles Guthrie Patterson Memorial Endowment and Matthew Morgan Hamilton Funds, and $10,000 for the recipient's research program. Article and picture provided by: Purdue Ag Communications
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