SOYL newsletter April 2016
1. Boost protein levels with SOYLsense
Variably applying final nitrogen doses with SOYLsense gives crops exactly what they need without waste, helping them to meet desired protein levels, achieve their full potential and reduce variations in grain quality before harvest.
SOYL trials have demonstrated that SOYLsense benefits both milling and feed wheat, with an average 0.83% increase in protein. The trials compared strips of flat rate and variable rate applications across the same fields. Just before harvest, grain samples were taken from multiple areas that received each treatment and analysed for nitrogen content and protein.
Many judge the success of nitrogen applications based on crop yield, but a more accurate indication is the protein level in the grain. Bread making wheat varieties optimise for yield at around 12% and a protein level of less than 10% for feed wheat varieties indicates sub-optimal nitrogen use.
The graphs below demonstrate an increase in protein in both feed and milling varieties when using SOYLsense variable rate nitrogen applications over a designated uniform flat rate.
For final nitrogen applications with SOYLsense, most will use the Field Average Reverse model which aims to balance nitrogen applications against areas that will be high yielding. Getting the balance right ensures protein levels will be maintained or increased rather than being diluted and lowering the quality of the grain.
2. Take an aerial view to improve crop performance
As growers try to make the most of crops in a cold, wet spring, the SOYLsight UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) could be invaluable in improving crop performance. By collecting highly detailed data on factors such as weed populations, plant counts, water stress calculations and late season growth assessments, SOYLsight provides accurate information to help growers make effective management decisions and maximise yields.
The multi-spectral camera used by SOYLsight is so sophisticated that it can identify areas of plant moisture stress, for example, before they are evident even to the human eye. Of particular interest for many growers is its ability to map and monitor black-grass, which can inform plans for targeting problem areas and minimising the impact on the growing crop.
Acquiring images is straightforward. A fully trained member of the SOYL team, approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, programmes the multi rotor SOYLsight UAV to record the required information using one of a number of lens and altitude combinations, depending on the desired target. An altitude of 100 metres and lens width angle of 19mm can be used for weed mapping, for example, while plant type identifications require an altitude of 25 metres and lens width of 30mm. Once in flight, SOYLsight works independently on an autopilot system, using the field boundary to plot the most efficient flight path possible.
When the field work is complete, the high definition multispectral colour images are processed and digitally stitched together into a mosaic which allows all areas to be compared. Three dimensional texture can also be added to the images at this stage, depending on the type of assessment. SOYL's agronomic experts then interpret the images to help growers address any potential issues. Growers can access their data quickly and easily at any time through the online web portal, MySOYL.
3. iSOYL app benefits growers across the globe
Recently named a FinOvation Honouree by global news site Farm Industry News, the iSOYL app is continuing to make an impact on the world agricultural stage.
The app enables precision crop production tasks to be managed directly from the tractor cab via an iPad, saving growers time, money and effort. With recognition in the FIN awards, as voted for by growers, and now benefitting businesses across five continents, the innovative app is really making its mark on the industry.
iSOYL is one product in a steady stream of constant research and development by SOYL to help growers get the best from their business with new precision solutions. The response to the app has been extremely positive in the UK and beyond. After great interest at the world's leading precision agriculture event, InfoAg, last year, the SOYL team will be heading back to the event in St Louis, North America, this August to share and discuss the latest innovations and trials results, as well as meeting growers at UK events this summer. These include Frontier's 3D Thinking demonstration and development days; click here to find your nearest event and book a place.
4. Meet Sarah Shepperd
"I joined the SOYLseed department as a technical assistant during the busy autumn drilling season last year. My previous experience was in environmental mapping, but with a non-agricultural background, it was quite a learning curve. I was able to settle in well as everyone at SOYL is so friendly and helpful to their colleagues as well as customers, and I quickly developed the skills needed for the different stages of data processing required to make variable seed rate plans for the SOYLseed service.
Day to day, my tasks include processing conductivity results and soil surveys with a quick turnaround time. These results are displayed in maps which are sent to customers and area managers. At this time of year I'm processing some spring drilling seed rate requests, which is a much gentler introduction to seed rates than in the autumn drilling period! I find it particularly satisfying to see a job through from receiving the initial conductivity data to creating seed rate plans for the same fields. Every job is different, which makes my role interesting and enjoyable and the time flies by.
With my scientific background, I'm particularly interested in how environmental factors affect establishment and I enjoy learning from colleagues about the variable pressures affecting crops throughout the season. The flexibility and ease of editing SOYLseed’s establishment maps to customise zones and figures of individual fields to counterbalance these pressures is an impressive innovation.
I enjoy country walks in my free time and now better appreciate the hard work that goes into crop production. Knowing that my work is improving agricultural processes is very rewarding indeed."
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