Chadi Sayde: Precision Agriculture for Water Management

water management

Last month’s blog “BAE’s Version of the 3MT Competition” revealed that this BAE event was a big hit with students and faculty alike. In this experimental presentation, students asked their professors to present their research as a twist on the original 3MT. Professors used the opportunity as a way for students to learn more about their individual work, backgrounds and passion — and Dr. Chadi Sayde was more than up for the challenge.

Assistant Professor Chadi Sayde

Chadi Sayde grew up in a family that had farmed for generations. By growing up around agriculture and seeing the direct impact of climate, water cycles and other external factors on the output of the land, he became interested in agricultural engineering and pursued a B.S. from the University of Holy Spirit, Lebanon and then a M.S. in Land and Water Resources Management from the Mediterranean Agricultural Institute of Bari, Italy.

He eventually came to the United States where he received his Ph.D. in Water Resources Engineering from Oregon State University. There, he studied under Dr. Marshall English and Dr. John Selker, pioneers in optimum irrigation management and vadose zone hydrology and environmental monitoring, respectively.

Dr. Sayde joined the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering in January of 2017 as an assistant professor and presented his research in the three-minute-thesis competition.

Dr. Chadi Sayde’s Research and Three-Minute Thesis

Dr. Sayde presented on Environmental Engineering and Precision Agriculture for Water Management and Irrigation Technology. While technology advances all around us in many industries, the irrigation and water management technology for agriculture was stuck in the 1970’s. Dr. Sayde articulates this as a major problem, not only for modern food production, but for future production for the growing population of the world. Without proper advancements to address changing climate and the effects on water cycles in areas around the world, we may find that today’s irrigation standards are not enough to sustain future food production.

Dr. Sayde has researched how implementing measuring systems for environmental factors, such as soil conditions and wind, can also determine how to properly use precision agriculture for water management. As he explains, by “quantifying and understanding dynamics of water movement across soil-plant-atmosphere from individual plant, to field and watershed scales,” agricultural engineers can find the optimized usage. Through improving current practices in water management, you can “improve yield, save water and reduce adverse environmental impacts.”

Through the BAE Faculty Three Minute Thesis, Dr. Sayde’s students were better able to understand his research and the implications of precision agriculture on irrigation technology.

Check out our past blog, “Technology in Biological and Agricultural Engineering: Precision Agriculture” if you are interested in learning more about the topic.

Check back each month as we dive further into the biological and agricultural engineering sciences and its applications on the university level and the world around us.