Digital decision-making software delivers on-farm effectivity

4 minute learn

Combining satellite tv for pc know-how with precision equipment, has enabled cereal grower, Pat Thornton, to reap the rewards of higher crop uniformity and yield, by optimising inputs utilization and monitoring illness on his farm in Doncaster.

He runs Low Melwood Farm, in Owston Ferry, in partnership along with his father. The 150ha operation grows oilseed rape, winter wheat, spring barley and spring beans. Over the previous season, he has been utilizing digital platform xarvio Discipline Supervisor, as a part of a field-scale trial with BASF, to determine historic productiveness tendencies courting again as much as 15 years and in-season discipline variation on his farm, which has allowed him to change and goal his inputs extra exactly.

This software program was launched in 2020 as a helpful software for growers and agronomists to enhance assortment and utilisation of knowledge via satellite tv for pc imagery, to assist inform selections all through the season.

Growers can use the software to entry historic biomass maps, referred to as PowerZone maps, which determine excessive and low performing field-zones, based mostly on satellite tv for pc information. In the summertime of 2021, utilizing these maps, Pat discovered that there was a good quantity of variation between his crops and was in a position to manipulate his seeding charges to enhance uniformity within the discipline.

He defined that he was ready to make use of the digital platform to determine traditionally much less productive areas after which apply extra seed in these focused areas. “It isn’t low hanging fruit for a farm of our measurement to embrace this know-how, it does come at a worth, however when you may have PowerZones which have 15 years of knowledge you’ll be able to entry, there’s a worth to that and I used to be actually shocked how a lot information was on there,” he stated.

“We now have additionally been ready to make use of the most recent in-season satellite tv for pc pictures to focus on nitrogen charges to even out fields within the early spring. We had been in a position to create utility maps for our spreader, so thinner areas acquired a better charge of 60kg per ha of N and thicker areas had been decreased to 40kg per ha.”

He defined that he doesn’t see the know-how as a method of utilizing much less, or extra inputs, however optimising one of the best use of what they’ve utilizing information proven from satellite tv for pc pictures. Pat has partnered Amazone precision equipment alongside xarvio Discipline Supervisor to get essentially the most out of his seed, fertiliser and crop safety.

Amazone has a variety of crop institution and crop care tools and have been offering seeding, spreading and spraying tools which may be loaded with a prescription map to hold out a chosen job, utilizing data from the xarvio app.

For this mission, the Cayena tine seeder and Cirrus cultivator drill had been used for crop institution after which crop care was carried out utilizing a ZA-TS 3200 Profis Tronic spreader and Pantera 4504 self-propelled sprayer.

Managing director from Amazone, Simon Brown, defined that know-how was going to show ‘important to protecting farming viable’. He stated: “We will see apparent added worth for farmers whenever you have a look at potential overlap financial savings: chemical financial savings; discount in fertiliser utilization; making one of the best use of seed by concentrating on zones and within the subsequent yr or two, we’ll get ever smaller zones.

“That’s how we’ll most likely preserve some lively components going, as a result of we’re clearly solely placing them the place they should be. All the pieces that we do is successfully working in direction of these smaller zones, with extra management of what’s occurring.”

By altering seeding charges in August, 2021, Pat was in a position to see improved biomass consistency throughout his discipline by Could the next yr. He was then in a position to apply this focused enter method to his fungicide programme.

xarvio implementation lead, Luke Pollard, defined: “We mentioned the way to goal Revystar XE for Pat’s T2 utility, utilizing the most recent satellite tv for pc pictures, to provide an utility map for the sprayer. We maintained the typical use at 1.25 litres per ha, however we different from 1-litre within the thinner areas as much as 1.5 litres the place there was extra biomass and extra inexperienced leaf space.”

Luke added that utilizing a brand new piece of {hardware} referred to as xarvio Join – which bodily connects to the terminal throughout the equipment – growers can wirelessly ping information backwards and forwards from the system to the terminal. “This permits a grower to, for instance, ship an utility map for liquid fertiliser or crop safety to the sprayer terminal wirelessly,” he stated.

One other software just lately added to the set-up was the ‘discipline notes’ characteristic, which permits growers to make use of GPS location on their cellphone to pin the placement of a selected a part of their farm and log any data or pictures to observe how fields are progressing. Pat stated used this to assist map black-grass which allowed him to return to the exact location to deal with it.

“It’s a great tool to have in your pocket when out strolling the fields. I make notes, monitor illness threat and development stage. It has introduced a further degree of data and perception to assist me make selections on-farm,” he added.

The app can create administration zones for biodiversity measures, concentrating on low performing and extremely appropriate discipline zones. Luke defined that utilizing a biodiversity planner, growers might pinpoint much less productive areas and assess suitability for a variety of environmental administration choices and combine these insights with seeding, diet, and crop safety maps.

“We now have been working alongside The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to have a look at how we will incorporate biodiversity maps in our app, to evaluate essentially the most appropriate zones for introducing biodiversity measures,” he identified.

“They’ve performed numerous analysis when it comes to understanding which various factors on the sphere corresponding to altitude, latitude, location of water sources, hedgerows, bushes, and so on and the way all these have an effect on the place is essentially the most appropriate space for instance, for a pollinator habitat, or to drill some nectar combine or wildflowers.”

Growers can robotically exclude zones from their maps, for instance for drilling, the place they’re about to plant nectar mixes. “I’ve been on this sport lengthy sufficient to know that we’ve been in a position to create many fairly maps for a few years, however now a grower my measurement can really utilise them,” he stated.

“It isn’t data overload, and it comes again to the profitability and effectivity of this farm and it’s making an influence. We will all stroll and have a look at our farms and assess them to an extent, however having a software like this provides you the power to again up your decision-making course of,” Pat concluded.

Supply: The Scottish Farmer