Ana Aizpurua

Researcher at the Plant Production and Protection Department. NEIKER, Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development

Dr. Ana Aizpurua has worked on several projects related to soil and fertilisation of the main crops in the Basque Country. She also carries out services for farmers by providing recommendations on fertilisation based on the results of soil and foliar analyses carried out at NEIKER.

She has experience in soil assessment and is currently working on preparing a map where soils are being classified according to their agrological suitability in the municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz. She has worked with wineries on several projects related to precision viticulture, trying to understand the relationship between the vegetative performance of vineyards and soil properties. She also worked on a vineyard-related project that ended in a doctoral thesis with the objective of estimating the effect of climate change on the quality of grapes for winemaking, while at the same time studying interaction with the soil. Following this line of work, she led a project which evaluated climate change adaptation practices in vineyards by working with vine growers and wineries. She has supervised 3 doctoral theses related to vineyards, soil variability and cover crops as a tool to minimise soil erosion. She has supervised 4 doctoral theses on nitrogen fertilisation, mainly in wheat. She has supervised 4 doctoral theses on nitrogen fertilisation, mainly in wheat. The last of these dealt with the use of portable sensors to diagnose the nutritional status of nitrogen in wheat with the aim of improving nitrogen fertilisation. Based on the knowledge gained from field sensors, she is working on projects that use satellite imagery to provide recommendation maps for farmers. In this vein, she took part in the recently completed LIFE AGROgestor project, trying to provide advisers and farmers with an advisory tool in which the knowledge of a number of Spanish researchers was applied. As a result, this project was able to develop decision support systems related to remote sensing, fertilisation and irrigation, while considering the environmental impact of the entire agronomic pathway by calculating the carbon footprint, water footprint and other environmental indexes.

Another example of knowledge transfer to the agricultural sector is the NITRALDA and AGRITECH projects, where the knowledge acquired with field sensors led to the development of fertiliser recommendation maps for farmers.

The aim is to help fine-tune precision fertilisation machinery using fertilisation maps obtained from satellite imagery and other auxiliary information. Work on these projects is being carried out in collaboration with the main associations of the Basque agricultural sector.

Dr. Aizpurua has led and been involved in several projects to assist the regional government in the field of fertilisation. Consequently, she has played a part in drafting regional action plans in areas vulnerable to nitrates, in legislation related to the application of sewage sludge, and in the inclusion of new fertilisers in the Spanish legal framework. She is a member of the Spanish Society of Soil Science (SECS) and has been part of the organising committee of 2 national soil congresses. She is also a member of the International Society for Precision Farming (ISPA).