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LAMMA Show 2020: Five pieces of new technology for arable farmers

LAMMA might be famed for its big kit, glistening paintwork and impressive machines, but with technology set to change the way we farm over the next decade, Alice Dyer went in search of what’s in store.

Field Manager

Field Manager is the latest development from BASF’s partner company, Xarvio, and is designed to optimise a crop from planting through to harvest, with functions including variable rate fungicide application technology and disease risk modelling.

 

For pest and disease management, field, crop and local weather data creates an algorithm, taking into account variety characteristics such as resistance and maturity; drilling date; and tillage system. Fields under pressure are marked using a traffic light system.

 

The Spray Timer function, which includes a database of all UK actives, determines the best time to spray, based on changes to risk, weather, and product recommendations. Xarvio are already working with Muddy Boots, among others, to link up farm management software.

 

The Zone Spray option, which uses the regular biomass maps taken from satellite imagery, gives growers the option to variably apply T2 fungicides.

 

Luke Pollard, implementation lead at Xarvio said: “ Field Manager will split the field into five zones according to biomass and then you can vary your rate depending on zones."


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GrainSense

 

Growers can now get instant grain protein information directly from the field or store with a new device being marketed by Calibre.

 

GrainSense, a handheld, battery operated device which connects to an app on the user’s phone and requires no mobile signal, can measure protein, moisture, oil, and carbohydrates of wheat, barley, rye and oilseed rape.

 

Paul Cliffe of Calibre, UK distributors of GrainSense says the tool will help growers to make better decisions, both pre and post-harvest.

 

“GrainSense will help growers to decide when to go in with combine, and it will help them to store and market their grain better. It will also give farmers a voice in negotiations with mills.”

 

Mr Cliffe added that the device is well-suited to arable farmers producing milling wheat, and could be shared between farms, with each farm having their own user account. He added, it is also suited to livestock farmers who mix their own feed.

 

Requiring 30g of grain, or 60-80 kernels of wheat, the test takes as little as 30 seconds, and data loads instantly onto a mobile phone, where the field/store location is noted. Data is stored in the Cloud, with a PC browser version available for loading information into farm management software.

 

SOYL

Scrutinising the profitability of every hectare has been made easier by SOYL’s new margin map tool, available in its MySOYL application.

 

By entering the selling price of the crop and using variable costs from crop records, growers can determine the gross and net margins for each 10sq.m area of the field, and how it racks up in terms of profitability.

 

Users can also compare the profitability of crops through the rotation across these areas, using multiple year calculations.

 

Simon Parrington, commercial director for SOYL says: “The idea then is that you might have a first wheat, which is always profitable, but then a break crop that is only profitable if the price is very high. Looking at the whole rotational performance, if an area of the field doesn’t make any money, the grower may consider using that part for a different purpose such as an environmental scheme.

 

“This is a really easy way of turning the yield map data that lots of customers have into something that is really useful. Growers increasingly want to take advantage of their environmental areas and this is a way of using data to scientifically support the decision, rather than going by a gut feeling or an average of the whole field.”

Spray Assist

 

A new mobile phone app from Syngenta is giving sprayer operators the option to better manage their workload, and only spray when conditions are right.

 

Using the Spray Assist app, growers can input exact field location with sprayer, nozzle and product information, and receive instant recommendations based on live weather data, up to five days ahead.

 

Taking into account factors including wind, rain, frost and leaf wetness, the app will give a spray forecast using a traffic light system showing which day and time has optimal spraying conditions, and if it is not advisable to spray, then the reason why.

 

Harry Fordham, Syngenta area manager, says: “The app gives growers the best spraying window, so they can make a plan. It will help to manage work load, particularly for those who have fields that are 10 miles away and aren’t sure what the conditions are like. It will also recommend which nozzle type to use, based on the conditions, for example the least drifty nozzle at the right pressure and water volume.”

 

A beta version of Spray Assist is now available download for free for both IOS and Android.

Crop4Sight

 

From the date of first emergence, potato growers will be able to forecast individual potato crop performance in terms of gross yield performance and saleable crop yield by variety, size fraction and planting date, following the launch of a new App.

 

The Crop4Sight App combines easily captured potato crop milestone data, such as emergence, ground cover and sample digs with 30 years’ worth of potato data and high tech software to provide instant insights in to potato crop performance, explains Crop4Sight agronomist Fiona Law-Eadie.

 

“Once a crop is planted we can benchmark its performance. We know from historical information how a particular variety planted on a particular date should behave and can measure how it actually performs and predict final yield by doing digs every 50 days after 50 per cent emergence.

 

“Using the App we can also predict size distribution and optimise burndown date.”

 

The App can be used with any varieties but contains more data for more common varieties and delivers greater accuracy for these, says Ms Law-Eadie.

 

It has been tested on about 80 farms and where growers are prepared to share data, has benefits higher up the food chain in terms of predicting potato volumes and size, she adds.

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