12 March 1999

Aerial pictures help to indicate field variation

Practical use of new

positioning technology was

the theme of Precision

Farming 99, organised by

farmers weekly and Fusion

Events. John Allan reports

FIND out whether there is sufficient variation in the fields on your farm before moving into more costly precision farming methods, urges Suffolk firm.

One way of doing that is to use enhanced satellite images provided, says Galaxy Precision Agricultural Services.

"These images give an indication of areas of poor plant vigour and allow farmers to target these areas for investigation," explains remote sensing analyst, Tim Mustill.

Satellite images cover much of the UK arable from 1994, showing crop condition in May and June when poor crop performance shows best.

"It may be that field investigation shows sub-soiling is all that is needed," says Mr Mustill. But if the problems arise from soil or nutrient variation, yield map data in any format can be collected by the farmer and logged into the firms Farmsense system.

That can then be complemented by GPS soil analyses, soil maps, satellite images, aerial photos and even OS Landline maps to create a complete picture of the factors which may be influencing variation.

Once processed the data is returned to the farmer for viewing on software from Galaxy. The farmer can then manipulate and view the data so variable input or other management changes can be planned if needed.