Growing up in a family of dairy farmers means that farming is in my blood. But so were allergies for cows! Therefore, a switch to a MSc in soil, water and atmosphere was made. A strong interest in environmental issues related to Dutch farming systems resulted in a thesis on modelling nitrate leaching of De Marke (Hack-ten Broeke et al., 1999) and I graduated as a spatial soil scientist. In my PhD, I focussing on the use of imaging spectroscopy to monitor and quantify growth, assess nutrient and water deficiency and quantify the nutritive value of grass. A mobile version of the system was also tested in the field (Schut et al., 2006). My focus expanded further while working in Australia for a period of 8 years, focusing on monitoring of both grazing (Mundava et al., 2015) and cropping systems (Schut et al., 2009) and identifying refugia for native vegetation in relation to climate change (Schut et al., 2014). The drastic changes in the Mediterranean climates of Australia fueled my interest in sustainability of farming systems in relation to land use change and loss of landscape productivity, a current project with PBL Assessment Agency for the Environment. Other projects include STARS-ISABELA (Mali), focussing on the use of UAVs (drones) to provide cropping information to the agricultural value chain.
Together with post-doc Keiji Jindo I am representing PPS in the NSO-G4AW funded Geodatics project, see for more information http://www.geodatics.net/. In this project we provide tailor-made fertilizer recommendations for smallholder farmers in Kenya and Tanzania. Further, with Prof Ken Giller I supervise the PhD students Samuel Njoroge, Alain Ndoli, Elias Nagol, Violeth Mwaijande and Joy Adiele.