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Precision Agriculture

Improving nutrient use efficiency with precision agriculture.

Precision agriculture uses new techniques and technologies to collect, process and analyze multiple sources of data to improve crop production management. The aim is to make farming operations more efficient and to increase crop yields and overall quality, while using less inputs, including fertilizers. By providing a variety of data on crop- and site-specific plant nutrition, soil health and crop status and yields, precision agriculture helps farmers to monitor, manage and apply nutrients more accurately. Today there are a wide of range of precision ag tools that help to apply fertilizers in an ever more precise and efficient manner to increase productivity on existing farmland while reducing nutrient losses to the environment.

On-farm sensors.

These sensors measure the nutrient content of soils and
plants to more precisely match plants’ nutrient needs.

Decision support software.

Computer and smartphone apps use algorithms to analyze data on soil, crops, weather and farming practices to offer increasingly precise fertilizer application recommendations.

Variable rate prescriptions.

Detailed nutrient measurements can plot the specific nutrient requirements for each area of a field, ensuring site-specific nutrient management.

Yield maps.

Yield maps created using GPS and harvest monitors can track yield distribution within a field from year to year to improve fertilizer applications.

Multispectral imaging.

Multispectral images from drones and satellites reflect nutrient levels in the plant canopy to quickly identify and respond to fertilizer deficiencies.

Auto-guidance systems.

Automatic GPS-steered tractors accurately and methodically monitor fields to apply exactly the right amount of fertilizers to the right areas.

“special products” is a broad group of crop nutrition products that encompasses, among others, slow- and controlled-release, stabilized and water-soluble fertilizers and liquid npks. They are part of the 4r toolbox available to farmers to improve nutrient use efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Controlled-Release Fertilizers (CRF): Urea-based (as well as some multi-nutrient) fertilizers that are physically coated with a polymer or a polymer-sulphur membrane, which controls nutrient release according to plant requirements at different growth stages over weeks to months;
  • Slow-Release Fertilizers (SRF): Condensed chemical forms of urea (e.g. methylene urea, isobutylene urea, urea triazone) that slowly biodegrade or hydrolyze, enabling a slower release of plant-available nutrients over weeks to months;
  • Sulphur-Coated Fertilizers (SCU): Urea that is coated with sulphur, providing a nutrient release over several weeks;
  • Stabilized Nitrogen Fertilizers (SNF): Nitrogen-based fertilizers, to which active substances are added to inhibit or slow down the biological transformation of N forms (urea and/or ammonium) in the soil, thus reducing N losses and improving nutrient availability. SNFs incorporate: – Urease Inhibitors (UI) which slow down the hydrolysis of urea by urease enzyme to reduce N losses via ammonia volatilization; – Nitrification Inhibitors (NI) which slow down the biological oxidation of ammoniacal-N to nitrate-N to reduce N losses via nitrate leaching and N2O emissions;
  • Water-Soluble Fertilizers (WSF): Solid nutrients (in straight fertilizers or blends) that are fully soluble to allow their utilization in fertigation, drip irrigation and foliar nutrition;
  • Liquid NPKs: NPK blends in liquid form.