Yara: Intelligent fertilisation improves crop yield

The timing and accuracy of fertilisation plays an important role for the crop and the environment: excessive or inadequate fertilisation may at worst ruin the whole crop yield. Yara has developed a precise cultivation technology, which allows nitrogen fertilisation to be targeted according to plants’ needs.

Yara’s N-Sensor is a meter mounted on a tractor roof and measuring the amount and quality of the light reflected from plant leaves as the tractor is driving. The device converts the reflection values to cholorophyll and biomass quantities from differents parts of the field. Based on the reading, the software assesses the amount of additional nitrogen needed by the plants and immediately issues a command to the spreaders pulled by the tractor to adjust the amount of fertiliser.

The device is already in widespread use in Europe in the cultivation of grain, oil plants, potato and corn. In Finland, it is currently mainly used for the fertilisation of grain, though it also has potential for other types of cultivation.

− There are hundreds of devices in use on Europe and about a dozen in Finland. User experiences have been very positive. In practice, farmers have appreciated crop growth and consistent quality as the most important benefits, says Aleksi Simula, Development Manager of Yara.

Photo: Yara

N-Sensor measures light reflectance levels and the quality of light reflected off of crops.