Using remote sensing technology, variation in crop canopy development can be identified, inspected and then managed using variable rate applications of nitrogen.
Nitrogen has a larger effect on crop growth, yield and quality than any other nutrient. Whilst increasing nitrogen application can boost yields up to a point, using too much nitrogen is financially wasteful as it leads to an increase in problems such as lodging and disease which will ultimately reduce yield. Excessive use of nitrogen can also increase the risk of nutrients leaching from the soil.
One way to measure nitrogen requirement is to assess the canopy of the growing crop. We use optical sensors mounted on satellites to measure crop canopy variation throughout the growing season. Variable rate nitrogen application maps are produced which allow optimisation of nitrogen rates based on the information acquired. Variable rate nitrogen is widely used on winter wheat, winter oilseed rape, winter barley and oats.
The service is web-based and each customer has their own private account. This allows you to log on and view all imagery of your farm throughout the growing season. You have the option to create your own application files online - giving you full control over your nitrogen practices. However, if you prefer, the SOYL team are on hand throughout the season to create application files for you and to provide support in using the service.
SOYLsense is based on original research from the HGCA which showed a benefit of £27/ha over uniform application of nitrogen. SOYL has run extensive SOYLsense trials over the past six years, showing an average yield benefit of between 3 and 8% over the farmer's best practice.
SOYLsense supports all common brands of spreaders and sprayers and can provide application maps in formats compatible with any GPS system.