SOYL Newsletter February 2014
1. Beat the yield plateau with drone technology
Precision farming techniques are helping UK arable farming overcome the existing yield plateau and results from a variety of methods have already been proven to increase production. The revolutionary capabilities of the latest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, technology will make a further impact on farm management and efficiency.
Recently demonstrated to growers by SOYL at LAMMA 2014, the SOYLsight copter’s eight rotor platform offers precision performance, flying at 20mph at an altitude of 100m, with an image resolution of just 20cm pixels. It can fly autonomously using a pre-prepared flight plan and records multispectral images of crops, identifying crop performance issues before they become apparent to the naked eye.
With a number of features, the technology can be used for a variety of purposes within precision farming, including:
crop health monitoring
identification of weed patches
Simon Parrington, SOYL’s commercial director, explains: “SOYL has been working on trials with a range of drone systems for some time and with the launch of SOYLsight, we’re now able to share innovative methods and new data with growers to help increase farming efficiency. It is also compatible with our other systems, so the images that are taken can be downloaded from MySOYL to assess crop conditions and take any necessary action.”
To find out more about SOYLsight, click here, call SOYL on 01635 204190 or speak to your local SOYL contact.
2. Image acquisition for nitrogen service begins
In preparation for the first nitrogen applications on winter crops, SOYLsense began acquiring images in late January. Ground calibrations are added to convert the raw satellite images into more relevant Leaf Area Index (LAI) maps.
Assessing the current condition of crops in this way makes it possible to calculate how much nitrogen is needed to achieve an optimum canopy and target yield, as well as reducing lodging, disease pressure and variations in grain quality.
Customer Graham Carr has found SOYLsense beneficial. Speaking of using the service after experiencing some issues, he explains, “Our crops were as even as I’d ever seen them, [SOYLsense] keeps them standing and that’s purely because I’m putting my inputs where they’re needed and not wasting them, which we’ve done in the past, when you would just cover a field with nitrogen but some areas didn’t need it and others wanted more.”
Images will be acquired on a regular basis over the next four months to match the critical growth period. Alongside image acquisition, a team of calibration staff is also out in the field collecting data which enables the conversion of the raw satellite images into a LAI map.
SOYLsense images are already live on the SOYL website. All SOYLsense customers will be sent a suggested plan of how to manage winter oilseed rape applications using the agronomic models provided by the website. For more information, click here, call the SOYLsense team on 01635 204198 or speak to your local SOYL representative.
3. MySOYL is now live!
The new online customer portal from SOYL allows customers quick and easy access to all their precision crop production data, anytime, anywhere.
With an intuitive interface, the new tool from SOYL makes it easy to add, retrieve or alter information as well as allowing accurate and effective modelling to test scenarios without the need to step outside. The capabilities of MySOYL provide complete control of the decisions being made on farm, enabling the user to:
View nutrient data on a field by field or whole farm basis
Record notes and annotations on fields
Enter seed information to use the seed rate calculator for creating or amending rates
Download application files or synchronise seamlessly to a SOYL-OPTI.
All of this data sits in one place, allowing growers to make intelligent, informed and most importantly, more profitable business decisions.
Tom Parker, SOYL’s business development manager, highlights the simplicity of the tool: “MySOYL is not only a business tool with huge benefits, it’s really easy to use. Imagine that you’ve got all your plans in place and it rains solidly for four weeks and all those plans need to change. All you need to do is click amend, change the numbers, press calculate and then sync it. That’s four clicks from making the decision, to it being in your tractor and ready to go.”
Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter @SOYLprecision for regular updates on soils, nutrients, machinery and GPS.