Home Agriculture Geospatial tool assesses crops’ nitrogen needs

Geospatial tool assesses crops’ nitrogen needs

Australia: Scientists at the Department of Primary Industries, Australia, developed a tool that uses satellites or airborne imagery to provide a precise analysis of crops’ nitrogen needs. It aims to enable farmers to boost yields and lower costs by providing them with an accurate picture of where and how much nitrogen they need to apply.

Scientists from DPI Horsham joined others from the University of Melbourne and Queensland University of Technology as well as Michigan State University and Italy’s University of Basilicata in developing the system.

DPI Senior Research Scientist Dr Glenn Fitzgerald said rain-fed wheat plots at Horsham and in southern Italy were studied, with their “greenness” and nitrogen status measured using the remote sensing index. “When this model was tested on the independent dataset it yielded good results for the estimation of greenness,” he said.

Fitzgerald added, “This research creates the potential for developing a whole paddock analysis of nitrogen levels rather than taking tissue samples at selected points in the crop and waiting several days for the results. In addition, the method provides an assessment of nitrogen throughout a paddock, unlike the limited spatial assessment from tissue samples.”

“Real time in-crop assessment will help farmers determine where to increase or decrease nitrogen across the whole crop,” continued Fitzgerald.

Source: Stock & Land