Site-specific fertilization with plant sensors: The benefits


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The various areas of a company often have very different soils and therefore differences in average yield potential. Plant stocks with lower yield potential require less fertiliser than plant stocks with above-average yield potential — farmers learn this during training in order to reduce over-fertilization or undersupply. However, there are also major differences in earnings potential within a single stroke. The distribution of the amount of fertilizer within a stroke is just as important as between strokes. We have summarized for you how you can record and address the differences. We will also show you the benefits of site-specific fertilization with plant sensors.

Vergleich Niedrig- und Hochertragzone

Heterogeneous blows and site-specific fertilization with plant sensors: The benefits

Humus-rich depressions, sandhills, boggy areas — many farmers roughly know the different areas of their fields. In this area, smart farming technologies are more popular than ever before. Most companies start this type of management by using application cards based on satellite images. These application cards specify a specific output quantity for an exact point of impact. The system then applies the corresponding stored quantity, e.g. when spreading fertiliser. However, creating these application cards takes a great deal of time. In addition, these do not always reflect the exact nitrogen requirements of the plants, especially when spreading fertilizer. Current satellite images are often not available at the desired time, or satellite images are falsified by marginal influences, such as forest edges or the culture on the neighboring area. ISARIA plant sensors such as the ISARIA PRO Compact or the ISARIA PRO Active. These measure the current and actual nitrogen supply status of the plants directly during the crossing. The entry-level version here is single-point mode. This allows stocks with different developments within a single stroke to be detected and supplied with the optimal amount of application. In single-point mode, the farmer performs a calibration. In doing so, it assigns a desired application quantity to the average calibration value. This quantity is then varied depending on the chosen slope and depending on the plant population.

Identify revenue potential

However, the best way to determine and rank the different yield potentials within a stroke is with a yield potential map. An income potential map is based exclusively on historical data. Possible bases for this are multi-year satellite maps in the same crop of the same vegetation section (satellite images are required every 6-8 years for wide crop rotations). In addition, a yield potential map can include information from a land estimate, TPI cards, yield cards from a combine harvester or forage harvester, soil sample cards (usable field capacity) or a soil conductivity measurement. Sensor scans lasting several years also generate extremely precise information about the different zones within a stroke. However, it should also be noted here that data from comparable crops and on the same vegetation section must always be compared. A relativized yield potential map is created from all the georeferenced information mentioned above. This card has an average of 100% on average and deviates accordingly from the average, depending on the income potential of the respective zone.

Why not just rely on income potential cards?

Yield potential maps indicate the different yield potentials per zone of a stroke in percent. The quality of the potential map depends on the quality and abundance of historical information considered.

BUT: These are exclusively historical values, which do not always correspond to the current plant population. In spring, for example, there is often the phenomenon that grains develop faster on sandy south-facing slopes because the soil warms up faster. The water requirements of plants can still be met by winter moisture. However, this location is actually one of the low-yield zones, as there is no water for good yield development during the summer months.

It is therefore important to consider both historical data and current plant population information when determining the correct amount of fertilizer. ISARIA creates the technical implementation using the MAP overlay process.

Excursus: How does it work?

An income potential card is added to the order in ISARIA CONNECT. The order can then be imported into the terminal. As a further option, the user can also transfer the relativized yield potential card in shape format directly to the ISARIA terminal via USB stick. During the crossing, the optimal application amount for each sub-area is then calculated and applied on the basis of the yield potential (from the yield potential map) and the current supply status of the plant population (from the measurement with the ISARIA sensor system).

When map and plant sensor merge

ISARIA offers the advantages of both strategies — historical yield potential maps and current ISARIA sensor measurements. The different income requirements for a hit are stored in the card. Using the sensor, it is now possible to individually evaluate and treat inventory within a defined income zone. In this way, the different yield zones are supplied with different amounts of fertilizer according to their needs and potential and the fertilizer is correctly distributed within a yield zone. ISARIA offers two solutions for this:

  1. Single point mode with yield potential map
  2. ISARIA expert systems with yield potential map

As described above, the first variant offers a good entry opportunity to simultaneously promote zones with high yield potential, but to create homogeneous stocks within the zones. The second variant, i.e. the combination of card and ISARIA expert system, is clearly the ultimate solution. This site-specific fertilization with plant sensors enables even more precise and demand-oriented fertilization. With ISARIA expert systems, the total amount of fertilizer is not determined by the user, but by the system. The amount of fertilizer is always based on the supply status of the current plant population. Once the stock is optimally supplied, only as much fertiliser is applied as is needed until the next fertiliser application or harvest. If the stock is undersupplied, the amount of fertilizer required by the stock in order to be optimally supplied is also applied. When a plant population is optimally supplied is determined by predetermined yield expectations and quality parameters, which are to be achieved on the respective partial yield.

Problem der schlageinheitlichen Düngung und Lösung mit optimierter N-Düngung mit ISARIA
Good to know: With all ISARIA plant sensor systems, effective site-specific fertilization is applied while complying with the requirements of the Fertilizer Ordinance. After work is done, the measurement and application data can be quickly and easily entered into the data management system ISARIA CONNECT transferred and stored or further processed there for documentation purposes. This saves additional documentation work.

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