Nitrogen sensor put to the test
For almost a year, the site-specific application of nitrogen has been undergoing continuous further development as part of a close collaboration between AGRAVIS and Fritzmeier, the manufacturer of the sensor. Dennis Stahlhut, an employee of AGRAVIS Technik Weser Aller GmbH, has been testing out the Isaria nitrogen sensoron his own land.
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- Dennis Stahlhut, an employee of AGRAVIS Technik Weser-Aller GmbH (left) and Christian Carl, an AGRAVIS crop farming consultant, examine the plants.
One's own sectors as test fields. Dennis Stahlhut is relaxed about it – after all, he knows what is coming to this fields. He farms 30 hectares as a secondary job, growing rape barley and wheat. In order provide nutrients optimally to these fields, the employee of AGRAVIS Technik Weser-Aller GmbH is testing the Isaria nitrogen sensor. Nitrogen can be distributed to specific areas with it.
The procedure has been undergoing continuous re-development for nearly a year as part of a close collaboration between AGRAVIS and Fritzmeier, the manufacturer of the sensor. "Optimising nitrogen application is important in many respects", explains Stahlhut. On the one hand, it is about ensuring the lowest possible level of nitrate pollution of the ground water, an overall stable nitrogen balance on farms and the accurate distribution of fertiliser across the fields.
The nitrogen sensor also presents an ideal opportunity to bring two segments together: technology and crop farming. Hence Christian Carl, a crop farming consultant at AGRAVIS, works alongside his colleague in putting the technology to the test. "Multi-disciplinary work is one of the great advantages of working at AGRAVIS, and one we are keen to reinforce", explains Carl. Farmers benefit from the short channels it offers, which allow them to gain in-depth crop farming advice and the applicable technological instruction simultaneously. "It is not enough to sell farmers a concept or a machine. They also need to know how it works", stresses the expert. For this reason, a service contract is in place for customers which comprises regular consultation with both segments. In the long run, this pays off for both sides as "we receive a great number of suggestions from farmers in return, some of which may never have occurred to us otherwise".
As a first step, nitrogen is applied statically – each individual plot of land is supplied with the same amount. The sensor is first used upon second application, as it requires biomass in order to provide the best recommendations. In practice, the sensor is mounted onto the front of the tractor. In working position, it measures 6 or 6.90 metres. It is guided to one metre above the target surface. In the meantime, the measuring heads cast light on the crops and receive the reflected beams. Depending on the values received by the sensor, nitrogen is applied. The machines can be operated by the relevant terminals in the tractor cabin.
"An additional advantage of this procedure is that in the end, we not only know the requirements of the plants but are also aware of any differences in the soil on a particular field", explains Stahlhut. The main aim of using a sensor is to increase the efficiency of fertiliser application across the various subplots of the field. This is why sensors are specifically recommended for farms with plots of extremely heterogeneous quality. Anyone making a purchase receives the whole package: the tractor, sensor and spreader are assembled in AGRAVIS Technik workshops and only delivered following in-depth technical instruction. The farmer receives on-site support from crop farming consultants.
For further information, please contact Dennis Stahlhut, Tel. 05108 . 640741, firstname.lastname@example.org or Christian Carl, Tel. 0172 . 5303459, email@example.com.