Yield-boosting precision from Fritzmeier

German firm Fritzmeier’s latest precision application system will be on show at next month’s Cereals event.

The Isobus-ready Isaria online system varies fertiliser application rate according to the nitrogen content of the plant and claims to be one of the cheapest on the market.

For £15,800, buyers get a 3m, front-mounted boom, associated software and in-cab terminal.

At each end of the aluminium boom are batteries of LED lights, which travel about 60cm above the crop canopy.

Crop foliage reflections from the lamps are recorded up to 500 times a second, detecting the amount of light reflected by the leaves to calculate the plant’s nutrient demand. The information is processed on the spot and transmitted to the in-cab terminal or farm office PC via Bluetooth.

The only power supply needed to run the sensor is a 12v socket in the tractor cab. That will provide enough power to fold the boom arms upright for road transport and back down when in the field.

Mapping

The system also takes into account growing conditions to predict yields and plant nutritional needs. It uses satellite photography and information on soil conditions, field contours and yield maps to develop an accurate picture of the area.

According to Fritzmeier’s Dieter Baye, trials on winter wheat in Germany showed using an Isaria sensor increased income by £24/ha. There’s also the benefit of reduced nitrogen losses to drains and surface water, he says.

The equipment is currently being trialled on oilseed rape, too, and the company says yield prediction and fertiliser application software should be available for the crop in 2013.

Fritzmeier is also working on incorporating weather mapping. Soon, the system should be able to condense information on sunshine hours, rainfall and other growth factors down to areas as small as one 1sq km to improve application accuracy.

The technology will be on show on Amazone’s stand SS102 at Cereals.

Crop sensor costs

  • Fritzmeier Isaria: £15,800
  • Claas Agrosystem crop sensor and Cebus controls: £17,800
  • Agri Con Yara-N sensor: £21,100
  • Yara Active Light Source scanner: £31,600-£32,500