Timely data can help boost grain yields

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A FluroSat image shows nitrogen levels across a cropping area and can inform decisions about where to apply fertiliser for the best result.

Landmark has partnered with crop health analytics startup FluroSat to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of agronomy services provided to growers. The partnership has seen the integration of FluroSense with Landmark’s precision agriculture Echelon program and will help growers make informed and timely decisions for the health of their crops.

Over the winter growing season farmers must decide where to invest in nitrogen fertiliser to promote growth, and when and where to ‘cut losses’ due to post head emergence frost damage. Traditionally, this has been done through raw farmer intuition and use of weather forecasts to predict factors like rainfall. The partnership between FluroSat and Landmark allows growers and agronomists to collect accurate data gathered from satellite and drone sensors, and better use this data to inform these critical decisions.

Trials conducted over the last two years in a number of grain regions across Australia helped to measure and analyse nitrogen and other key crop nutrient deployment using multi-spectral imaging and the FluroSense analytics platform. These trials have helped to determine how much of an impact the fertiliser has on the crop’s growth, which will then be correlated to the responding yield, helping improve results over time.

Anastasia Volkova, CEO of FluroSat explained that the partnership would allow farmers to accurately measure which parts of their fields had insufficient, sufficient and surplus nitrogen.

“At its core, FluroSense helps farmers to begin to make better informed decisions by using data gathered with incredible accuracy. This allows farmers to make small savings per hectare, which can result in a massive difference at scale. For the first time, farmers can accurately measure the impact of different nitrogen levels across their crop. They’ll be able to then apply the right amount of fertiliser at the right place in order to get the best possible yields, and also not waste fertiliser where it won’t make a major difference.”

“We know that frost damage costs the Australian grains industry an estimated $400 million per year. If farmers are hit with frost, they’ll be able to make the most of their damage by knowing exactly what to cut for hay or leave to harvest. While hay-cutting is normally a way to minimise frost losses, the impact of drought on grazing land means farmers can still get quite good gross revenue from hay. We’re working together with Landmark to help ensure we make the most of every season, no matter what the climate brings.”

Senior Agronomist at Kerin Landmark Rural, Steve Richmond said that the technology is ready to deliver huge efficiencies for grain farmers across Australia.

“The job of an agronomist and of growers is complex when it comes to applying fertiliser. We’re constantly solving a puzzle that has three factors to consider: are we using enough nitrogen, are we putting it in the right place and are we doing it at the right time. With technology like FluroSense, which uses non-visible light waves to analyse a field, we can begin to piece together the puzzle sooner and start to use the data to inform where, when and how much fertiliser is needed to maximise profitability. Whilst we haven’t completed the season yet, we estimate a 10-20% increase in grain yields by utilising FluroSense to help us guide the decisions we make.”