Technology in the field helps growers save time and money

“The precision crop canopy sensors, such as GreenSeeker optical sensor, allow us to go out into the field in the middle of the season and evaluate how healthy the crop is,” said Olga Walsh. “They estimate yield potential and producers can apply the proper, needed fertilizer amount based on that yield potential instead of guessing. It is very efficient.”

WalshWalsh is talking about precision sensor technology and she is working to bring it to Montana growers. She is an assistant professor of soil nutrient management at the Western Triangle Ag Research Center in Conrad, Montana.

The ability to read and assess the fertilizer needs of a field while on-the-go, in the sprayer, can save time and money. According to Walsh, these precisions sensors have been successfully used throughout the U.S. and worldwide where producers accurately estimate the crop’s yield potential and their prospective responsiveness to nitrogen applied mid-season.

While there are hand-held sensors that are used for research purposes, Walsh is talking about sensors that are mounted on the front of the tractor. In that position they scan the crop as the sprayer is moving through the field. The information is then immediately relayed back to the booms and accurate adjustments are made for each specific part of the field as they pass over. “Depending on the readings, the amount of applied nitrogen is constantly being adjusted according to yield potential,” she said.


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