Extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) can potentially trigger stress responses in plants. However, results from the literature are inconclusive and further research is needed. The Proefhoeve Bottelare team participates in BBEMG with a quarterly broad literature study on the effects of non-ionising radiation on fauna/flora/biodiversity including the effect on agricultural crops with an overview of newly published studies in the field. Furthermore, within the BBEMG, the Proefhoeve Bottelare HoGent – UGent will investigate the impact of non-ionising radiation (electromagnetic radiation around high-voltage installations) on crop production in an agricultural context and this over a three-year period. The focus will be on maize and cereals, on the one hand because the cultivated area of these in Belgium is very large and on the other hand because existing shredders/threshers are capable of generating site-specific yield maps.
To check the impact of ELF-MF on plant growth and ultimately yield, the fields will be visited several times during the growing season, whereby the field will be crossed and radiation will be measured according to a certain pattern and GPS coordinates will be recorded. At the same time, sensors (e.g. UAV with camera, satellite images, sensors on the tractor) will be used to map the health status of the crop. At harvest time, yield maps of the plot will then be determined. Afterwards, the ELF-MF in the field, the crop health status during the growing season and the final yield will be linked and the effect of the ELF-MF will be quantified.