Contact Julia Horner
Julia is a PhD student in Agrifood and Environment at Cranfield University. She would not claim to be an academic,- more an ideas person with a love of clever systems.
She completed her Batchelor of Arts Degree in Three Dimensional Design at Birmingham University.
Her aim is to develop a model of sub-surface irrigation that optimises water use and can add biogenic protein and micronutrients to soil by combining wool together with waste stream nutrients in a designed regime of degradation to create habitat for soil communities to begin to rebuild humus and structure in soils facing the uncertainties of climate change.
Some of her initial work is focusing on identifying the properties of sheep wool, it's ability to slow down and buffer the effects of water moving through soil, and it’s potential capacity to hold and moderate water content in extremes of flood and drought.
This model of regenerative irrigation could balance and bridge the gap between intensive livestock production and arable production where soils have lost active biome.
Different regions of the world will have different wicking fibers and combinations of different waste stream nutrients appropriate for different crops.
Given simple irrigation equipment, this model could help to support substance farmers who's crops and stock are part of their culture and maintain the Earths diverse and delicate mantle that is so threatened.
To make a real difference, Julia's ultimate aim is to work with others to develop a precision directed, field scale system of biogenic irrigation that optimises water use and re-establishes a system of agriculture faithful to how soils were laid down,- by returning organic material in designed prescriptions, back to the soil.
It would be a huge project involving precision systems, software development, agronomists and water specialists with topographical /local understanding of how to apply this model appropriately to the conditions and needs of different parts of the world.
Strategies are needed to return beneficial waste stream carbon back to soils, that can re-emerge as healthy nutrient dense food, and allow living soils to function once again within the earths exchange systems.
Water is an increasingly precious resource. Irrigation and water retaining strategies will be ever more significant in more parts of the world to regenerate degraded soil and hold back desertification.