Innovative Research

Innovative Research

Innovative Research

As big data continues to redefine processes and possibilities in agriculture, Purdue University helps lead the way through innovative, interdisciplinary research. This convergence of technology in agriculture is driving the industry forward across many applications.

Agriculture is an area ripe for technological acceleration; however, the data processing, computation, communication and storage requirements of research programs expands exponentially. To advance the field, Purdue partners with programs, organizations, and initiatives to reach shared objectives. Purdue is collaborating with information technology companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise to combine Internet of Things (IoT) and high-performance computing to gather, transmit and analyze field and lab data to reduce the time to discovery.

Researchers in forestry, plants, animals, natural resources and human well-being incorporate the newest applications of technology to make faster and more informed decisions than ever before.

Revolutionary imaging systems raise the speed and accuracy of plant data collection through phenotyping, contributing to the fight against global hunger. UAVs pair with high-speed internet to capture and transfer valuable information in real time. Digital agriculture provides new ways to monitor livestock without human intervention, optimizing the contribution and well-being of individual animals. By incorporating the tools of digital agriculture, we can monitor and preserve forests and natural resources. New technologies and their adoption present opportunities to collect and transmit data in increasingly remote areas.

Open Ag Technologies and Systems Group (OATS)

The OATS Center is bringing an open source culture to agriculture and believes data exchange among systems, people, and projects is key for agricultural sustainability. OATS addresses fundamental concerns and helps open-source communities thrive.

Open Ag Data Alliance (OADA)

The Open Ag Data Alliance is an open-source project designed to bring interoperability, security, and privacy to agricultural data. This open standards software will establish secure data exchange protocols and help farmers access and control their data.

Institute for Plant Sciences

The Institute for Plant Sciences strengthens plant-research programs and Purdue’s ability to deploy discoveries for global impact. The institute expanded plant biology, produced two state-of-the-art plant phenotyping facilities and established an IoT test bed for digital agriculture.


Purdue scientists develop methods to improve molecular identification in plants

Uncovering the complex associations among genes, proteins and the molecules they produce in a living organism can be a monumental task. Some scientists may devote entire careers to one particular protein and spend decades tracking a handful of metabolic pathways.


Ag Data Services: Turning data sets into data assets

The cows at Homestead Dairy in Plymouth, Indiana, are blissfully unaware that every minute of every day they’re generating mountains of data for Luiz Brito, assistant professor of animal sciences. Sensors are everywhere on the commercial farm where the cows are videotaped day and night. Automated feeders record each calf’s milk intake and eating habits, while milking robots collect comprehensive production, activity and behavior data.


Behind the Research: Kirby Kalbaugh

Technology has long fascinated Kirby Kalbaugh, but early in his career, his goal was to manage a hotel or an amusement park. The Cincinnati native worked full time while studying hospitality management at Purdue. After earning his degree in 1998, he held various hotel management positions in Lafayette — a town he had grown to love.
Kalbaugh says that since joining the horticulture and landscape architecture department at Purdue that same year, he has occupied one chair but changed job titles three times.


ABE professor has a winner in his hands with LeafSpec

“Purdue is a magic place,” said assistant professor of agricultural & biological engineering Jian Jin, creator of LeafSpec. “We have so many diverse faculty members working on all kinds of plant science research projects.” Purdue is probably the only place in the world that has the plant scientists, sensor engineers, data scientists and social scientists collaborating together to introduce a technology like this. It is the only place that this seed of an idea could have grown.”


Remote sensing gives new look at forest diversity

Generating comprehensive and accurate tree inventories is key to understanding forest population dynamics but also a laborious process. Purdue University scientist John Couture participated on a team that used aerial hyperspectral remote sensing platform to quickly identify trees in a diverse forest plantation, and to understand the role of tree diversity on forest productivity.


Bovine Respiratory Disease meets Purdue digital agriculture

Bovine Respiratory Disease, or BRD, is one of the worst diseases a cattle population can contract. In a chance meeting between farmer and engineer, a detection solution was devised. Learn more about Purdue Ag & Biological engineering professor, Mohit Verma, and the rapid testing sensors he is developing to help detect this disease in conjunction with Aaron Ault of Ault Farms. This sensor also shows promise for detecting COVID-19.


Big data, machine learning shed light on Asian reforestation successes

Since carbon sequestration is such an important factor for mitigating climate change, it’s critical to understand the efficacy of reforestation efforts and develop solid estimates of forest carbon storage capacity. However, measuring forest properties can be difficult, especially in places that aren’t easily reachable.


From farm to forest, Songlin Fei has built a career and better life

When Songlin Fei was a young boy in China, his parents took him to a local fortune teller to assess his balance in the five elements that many Chinese people believe make up everything in the world. Their son, they were told, had enough fire, earth, water and metal, but he lacked wood.

Maybe this wasn’t a surprise. Fei’s family lived on a delta in southeast China where cropland and rice paddies stretched as far as the eye could see. Scanning his family’s property and the landscape beyond, Fei might have seen only a handful of trees.


The Future of Farming Relies on Internet Connectivity

Farms could contribute billions more dollars to the U.S. economy with the help of precision agriculture technology, but this can’t happen without more broadband, said experts during a National Telecommunications and Information Administration webinar.


Ag-Analytics opens branch in Convergence Center, encouraging collaboration

“Digital agriculture and data science are important tools for our farmers in Indiana,” said Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture. “We look forward to finding opportunities for our researchers, Extension specialists and students to collaborate with Ag-Analytics as they join us on campus as part of the Convergence Center.”