The DAWN Project
In the Illinois team’s words:
“This project will establish a Dashboard for Agricultural Water use and Nutrient management (DAWN), developing innovative ways of increasing land, nutrient, and water use efficiency to help maximize crop production in maize, soy, and bioenergy fields.
“University of Illinois researchers will study:
- Climate variability that includes the rapid switch between floods and droughts, which usually leads to waterlogging in the crop planting stage and water stress in crop growth stage, especially in the flowering stage of corn;
- Biofuel development and landscape change, including adopting more efficient bioenergy crops such as sorghum and perennial grasses like Miscanthus and switchgrass — as well as socio-economic impacts and environmental impacts (water quantity and quality); and
- Nutrient loss, a longstanding issue in Midwest, and whether it can be positively or negatively affected by climate variability and agriculture landscape change.”
Illinois Lead Investigator Ximing Cai reports:
- The team is developing a real-time irrigation scheduling model, facilitated with data assimilation and famer intervention, tested with a synthetic case study field and adding a Decision Support System (DSS) Dashboard to DAWN.
- Researchers are the integrating BioCro crop growth model with the economic model Built Environment Project and Asset Management (BEPAM) to evaluate the economic value of growing miscanthus on marginal land.
- Further, the team incorporated the project content into a course titled “CPSC 113: Environment, Agriculture, and Society” that attracted 61 students in Spring 2021.
- Finally, team members are presenting on the irrigation model at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (see information below).
Read more about the full project on lead partner University of Maryland’s DAWN website >>>
Researchers from the University of Illinois have been awarded $1.2 million as part of a larger study to help the U.S. Corn Belt maximize crop production.
The Illinois team includes iSEE Associate Director Ximing Cai, the Lovell Endowed Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering; iSEE Associate Director Madhu Khanna, the ACES Distinguished Professor of Agricultural & Consumer Economics; Stephen P. Long, the Ikenberry Endowed University Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology; and Reid Christianson, Research Assistant Professor of Crop Sciences.
The goal of the overall project — funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and also including Colorado State, the University of Minnesota, the University of Nebraska, and FamilyFarms Group — will be to develop a Dashboard for Agricultural Water use and Nutrient management (DAWN). The project lead is Xin-Zhong Liang, Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Maryland. Read Maryland’s news release >>>
- Ximing Cai, Lovell Endowed Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Departmental page >>>
- Madhu Khanna, ACES Distinguished Professor of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Departmental page >>>
- Stephen P. Long, Ikenberry Endowed University Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology
Crop Sciences departmental page >>>
Plant Biology departmental page >>>
Lab page >>>
- Reid Christianson, Research Assistant Professor of Crop Sciences
Departmental page >>>
Lab page >>>
Illinois Operating Team (Postdocs, Technicians, Students)
- Alaa Jamal, Postdoctoral Researcher, Civil & Environmental Engineering
- Saurajyoti Kar, Postdoctoral Researcher, Agricultural & Consumer Economics
- Muhammad Umar, Postdoctoral Researcher, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Lead Institution Partners (main DAWN website here >>>)
- PI Xin-Zhong Liang, Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland
- Amy Sapkota, Professor of Applied Environmental Health, University of Maryland
- Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Chair and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) Director, University of Maryland
- Michael Gerst, ESSIC Assistant Research Professor, University of Maryland
- Thomas Wild, ESSIC Assistant Research Professor, University of Maryland
- Xuesong Zhang, ESSIC Visiting Research Scientist, University of Maryland
- Michael Maddox, ESSIC Project Manager, University of Maryland
- Junyu Qi, ESSIC Assistant Research Scientist, University of Maryland
- Mitchell Schull, ESSIC Assistant Research Scientist, University of Maryland
- Yufeng He, ESSIC Postdoctoral Associate, University of Maryland
- Chao Sun, ESSIC Postdoctoral Associate, University of Maryland
- You Wu, ESSIC Postdoctoral Associate, University of Maryland
Other Institutional Partners
- Roger Elmore, Emeritus Professor of Agronomy, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
- Christopher Neale, Director of Research in Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
- Brian Krienke, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Agronomy, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
- Xuesong Zhang, Earth Scientist, Pacific North National Laboratory
- Kate Brauman, Lead Scientist on Global Water Initiative, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota
- Melissa Kenney, Associate Director of Knowledge Initiatives, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota
- Wei Gao, Professor of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University
- Chelsea Corr, Research Scientist, USDA UV-B Monitoring and Research Program, Colorado State University
- Allison Jonjak, Precision Agriculture Analyst, FamilyFarms Group
Publications & Presentations
(DAWN team members in bold)
- PRESENTATION: “Real-Time Irrigation Scheduling — A Human-Machine Interaction Program,” Jamal, A., Cai, X. American Geophysical Union fall meeting, Dec. 13-17, 2021.