Development and evaluation of a technique for the rapid measurement of cereal root systems


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 May 2000 - 28 February 2001
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
£29,146 from HGCA.
Project leader:
I J BINGHAM, J A BADDELEY AND C A WATSON SAC Aberdeen, Craibstone Estate, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, AB21 9YA



About this project


More rapid, and less expensive techniques for assessing cereal root systems in the field would assist greatly in the development of effective root management strategies. The aim of management is to manipulate the root system to overcome potential limitations on the canopy imposed by adverse soil conditions.

Research was undertaken to evaluate a new technique, which has the potential for faster data capture in the field and which avoids the need for time-consuming washing of root samples. The proposed technique involves the use of an air-knife and digital photography. The air-knife delivers a stream of air at high velocity, which enters the pore spaces in soil aggregates causing them to disintegrate.