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On-the-go sensors aid fertilizer application

One of the main goals of the application of sensors in agriculture is to accurately manage the variability of fields and the difference in yield between areas put under cultivation.
To achieve homogeneous production over the entire cultivated area, farmers are required to estimate the needs of each area, supplying fertilizers based on the actual needs of the plants. 

The role of sensors

The use of on-the-go sensors, mounted on the tractors or on the spray boom, makes it possible to assess the vigor of the plants, i.e., their efficiency in using light energy to synthesize nutrients, and to calibrate the spreader flow rate as you move through the field. Variable rate distribution of nitrogen fertilizers is thus carried out

The application

Multispectral sensors, used for fertilizer calibration, analyze the spectral signature of plants. Light emitted from a light source is reflected by leaves and collected by the sensors, which measure its intensity in different wavelengths. Spectral signature analysis enables the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, one of the most widely used indices for evaluating and enhancing crops. 

A comprehensive view

The sensors do not replace, but complement, the phenological study of plants, fertilizer types, and environmental conditions.
The combination of these factors makes it possible to distribute the right amount of fertilizer, optimizing crop production and avoiding waste and problems.

Sensors represent an invaluable source of data that must be incorporated into a framework of expertise and equipment, which is essential for proper resource management and response to needs. 


Read also: A film to protect crops: the power of passive heating
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