Paul-Tech soil monitoring station promises to cut fertiliser bills

Mikk Plakk with Paul-Tech soil monitoring station

Mikk Plakk with Paul-Tech soil monitoring station © Paul-Tech

By simply inserting two probes into soil at differing depths, Estonian company Paul-Tech reckons it can help growers optimise their nutrient application.

The firm’s soil station has been tested on farms in Finland and Estonia, where it claims to have helped reduce fertiliser bills by up to 70%.

It works by taking readings from the soil – usually at 8cm and 16-25cm depths – and combining them with weather and satellite data to work out nutrient availability for the crop.

See also: Guide to soil moisture sensors: Why use them and the options

By measuring “electrical parameters”, the sensors are able to calculate the levels and availability of key nutrients, as well as soil moisture, air temperature and humidity.

The collected data is then analysed and presented in a web or mobile application with automated suggestions and tips.

With this information, Paul-Tech says growers are able to make more informed decisions about when and how much fertiliser to use, in order to maximise nutrient uptake, prevent leaching, and increase profitability. 

An on-board SIM card allows the system to wirelessly transfer data and it’s equipped with a battery and a solar panel so it requires no maintenance during the season.

The soil station is already well established in Europe, where it is installed on several farms and horticultural businesses, and some UK farms have been trialling the system.

One of these is TLC Sussex – G’s Growers. It found that the information provided by the soil station allowed them to significantly reduce fertiliser costs, while also growing more resilient crops.

This was achieved by better timing irrigation and nutrition, as well as giving advanced warning of water or nutrient stress so that applications could be carried out before crops started to suffer.

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