Crop Science Grad Students Win ASA-CSSA-SSSA Ag Hackathon Competition

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From left, Diego Della Lunga, Igor Fernandez, Gustavo Bessa de Lima and Mario Soto’s Valencia team U.

Four graduate students majoring in crop, soil and environmental sciences recently won an Ag Hackathon sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America.

The U of A team includes Igor Fernandes, who focuses on statistics; Diego Della Lunga, who focuses on soil physics; Gustavo Bessa de Lima, focusing on soil fertility; and Mario Soto Valencia focus on precision agriculture.

The challenge is, “How can we get an accurate estimate of carbon stock on the landscape with the least amount of ground truth information?”

“We used an approach from the back of a single discipline, starting with the creation of a statistical model capable of predicting the temporal and spatial distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC),” said Della Lunga. “In soil science, many variables and parameters tend to interact, so we used soil physics and pedogenesis as a proxy for our evaluation. We used soil water infiltration into the topsoil to calculate kinetic energy. We used statistics at each step to ensure that one view of the problem did not affect the results. , data management, soil science and thermodynamic principles. All our consultants have been very supportive in this project.

Fernandes advises Sam Fernandes, assistant professor of agricultural statistics and quantitative genetics. Della Lunga by Chris Bray, University Professor of Applied Soil Physics and Pedology; Valencia by Aurelie Poncet, assistant professor of precision agriculture; and Besa Associate Professor of Soil Fertility in Trent Roberts. All Dale Bumpers are faculty members in the College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences and researchers and scientists at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, a research arm of the U of A Department of Agriculture.

“After calculating kinetic energy, we started survey data analysis and found that fitting a log-log linear mixed model was useful to explain the relationship between soil organic carbon and kinetic energy, which is a random effect of county,” said Igor Fernandez. “For a proof-of-concept, we used the same model fitted with Arkansas data to predict soil organic carbon in coastal California, which showed 0.5% – 10% less accuracy than the lower Mississippi River Valley prediction.”

The Hackathon provided an opportunity for teams to meet in person at the ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting and work. Groups can meet outside of the meeting. On the last day of the conference, teams presented their results in a 15-minute presentation and were judged according to a set schedule. Judging was based on problem definition, data sources, analysis methods, results, impact, final approach, and open science principles.

ASA-CSSA-SSSA jointly hosts major ideas, solutions and innovations from the field of environmental science. The annual meeting is equal parts science, networking, collaboration and friendship and brings together students and leaders from industry, government agencies and academic institutions to explore advances in agronomic, crop and soil science.

About Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College offers life-changing opportunities to recruit and prepare graduates to become leaders in businesses related to food, family, environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life. And who will be the first choice candidates for employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, a former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who brought the state to national and international prominence in agriculture. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our websiteAnd follow us on Twitter @ Bumpers College And Instagram by Bumpers College.

About the University of Arkansas: As the flagship institution of Arkansas, the U of A offers an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. In the year The U of A, founded in 1871, contributed more $2.2 billion for the Arkansas economy Teaching new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, research and innovation, and providing training for professional fields. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the few American colleges and universities with high research activity. US News and World Report The U ranks among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A is working to build a better world Arkansas Research and Economic Development News.

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