Plant Root Simulator

Jeff Schoenau, a University of Saskatchewan soil scientist, and the Saskatoon company that commercialized his technology, won a 2004 Synergy Award for Innovation from the National Science and Engineering Research Canada (NSERC). Schoenau developed the technology used by Western Ag Innovations Inc. to create the Plant Root Simulator (PRS), a simple soil testing probe and forecasting software that has benefited researchers and farmers in Canada and around the world. The PRS system has been used to improve yields on 3.4 million acres of farmland in western Canada, with an estimated economic impact of almost $60 million since 1998. It simulates the function of a plant's roots and helps researchers and farmers see the soil from a plant's perspective. The device simplifies the collection and analysis of soil samples, and vastly improves the ability to measure and predict fertilizer use and requirements.

Joe Ralko