YARA‘S N-Sensor system for varying fertiliser inputs according to crop need could help growers manage cereal crop canopies earlier in the season, growers have been told.

Trials have looked at the scope for varying the first spring dose of N across a field to boost tillering in thin patches of crop or restrict tillering where the stand is too thick.

“Growers are already doing this where they can see variations in the field, but with N-Sensor we could do it more accurately and across the whole field,” said Yara‘s head of agronomy Mark Tucker.

The approach is currently being evaluated, using the sensor to measure crop biomass rather than greenness, which could be affected by other factors.

It has already shown that areas with as few as 750 tillers/sq m can be boosted to a more optimal 1000 tillers/sq m and thicker patches with 1300 tillers reduced to a similar optimum.

“The move to lower seed rates, with the associated risk of stands being too thin come the spring, means there is good scope to help growers get the more even canopies they are looking for,” added Yara area manager Gavin Ray.