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Stackyard News Jun 2012

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Agrii’s Soil Scanning Service Aiding Precision Agronomy

Soil scanning is expanding across the country, with Agrii’s SoilQuest Precision Agronomy service mapping more farms and a larger UK acreage than ever this season with their rapidly growing fleet of specialist soil scanners and automated soil sampling units.

Agrii’s SoilQuest Precision Agronomy service has a
growing fleet of specialist soil scanners
and automated soil sampling units.

milling wheat

The service builds-up accurate field maps of soil variation and nutrient status by measuring electrical conductivity to two depths and analysing representative soil samples from each soil type zone. These maps are then combined with the wealth of accumulated farm knowledge from growers and their agronomists – aided by yield mapping where available – to divide fields into separate management zones for the best targeting of precision technologies.

“Understanding how soils vary is crucial if modern variable rate input technology is to be used to the greatest effect,” points out Precision Agronomy manager, Stuart Alexander. “Our scanning is the most reliable way of characterising management zones by their actual soil type and nutrient status for the best precision agronomy decision-making.

“Modern precision farming technologies offer a range of exciting opportunities for improving crop performance. But the most appropriate systems have to be married with the best of modern agronomy in each case or the wrong decisions can easily be made.”

As well as requiring the best possible understanding of soil variations across every field, Stuart Alexander is adamant that successful precision agronomy also depends on making sure all the technologies and people involved communicate with each other.

With his team spending more and more time helping growers and agronomists overcome technology problems he cannot over-emphasise the importance of tractor, equipment and management computer systems that actually ‘talk to’ and work with each other.

“Technologies are developing at such a frantic pace that it can be hugely difficult and frustrating keeping abreast of the changes,” he warns. “So it’s critical you know what you want to achieve, understand what you’re buying and get kitted-up to meet your precise needs. Or you could easily find you create more headaches than you ever thought possible. The right professional technical advice from the outset is essential.

“Good personal communication is every bit as vital. Everyone involved needs to be prepared to invest time and effort in ensuring precision farming technologies do the job they’re intended to. This invariably demands active management and continuous technical support.”

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