New contoured film membrane protects crop roots from drought

"MSU researchers dramatically increased corn and vegetable production using revolutionary new water-saving membranes. Courtesy of MSU."
“MSU researchers dramatically increased corn and vegetable production using revolutionary new water-saving membranes. Courtesy of MSU.”

Michigan State University researchers have been experimenting with new contoured film membrane to protect crops.   They have published their results in an article titled, “Revolutionary technology aids thirsty crops during drought.

MSU professor of soil biophysics Alvin Smucker has invented this technology, reports MSU.

“His invention uses contoured, engineered films, strategically placed at various depths below a plant’s root zone to retain soil water. Proper spacing also permits internal drainage during excess rainfall and provides space for root growth.”

But, how does one keep the soil above the membrane from becoming depleted of vital nutrients?   Crop rotation and retaining/restoring soil nutrients are not addressed in this article.   But, MSU researchers have “dramatically increased” yields of crops using this new membrane technology.

Professor Smucker does address protecting ground water from chemical pesticides and fertilizers:

"MSU's water-saving membranes dramatically improved corn yields during this summer's drought. Courtesy of MSU."
Courtesy of MSU.

“This technology has the potential to change lives and regional landscapes domestically and internationally where highly permeable, sandy soils have prohibited the sustainable production of food,” Smucker said. “Water retention membranes reduce quantities of supplemental irrigation, protect potable groundwater supplies, and enable more efficient use and control of fertilizers and pesticides.”

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