Friday, 9 April 2010

Making Sense of SOYL

This year we have been using the SOYLsense system to variably apply our Nitrogen fertiliser to the Oilseed Rape and wheat crops. The system uses satalight imagery of the fields to assess the growth of the crop, the Leaf Area Index. We can then use this information to create a plan of each field which will apply different rates of fertiliser across the whole area.

This system needs regular calibration to check that what the satalight sees is actually what is happening on the ground. Yesterday Steve from SOYL came out to sample our wheat and oilseed rape crops to check the imagery. If the image shows a very lush bit of the field, say in a valley bottom, where there is naturally more fertility, we can put less fertiliser on. Similarly, if an area looks very thin then more can be applied. This is helping us apply the expensive fertiliser much more accurately to where each of the areas of the field need variable amounts. The maps are generated in the office and sent to the sprayer on a memory stick. Tim then plugs it in drives to the field and the sprayers GPS system tells the map where it is. The map then tells the sprayer what to put on and off it goes. More infomation can be found at

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