SOYLsense uses remote sensing technology and the HGCA Winter Wheat Canopy Management guidelines to identify and manage variations in crop canopy development.
Regular satellite passes ensure frequent collection of satellite imagery. SOYL work closely with a range of satellite providers to ensure maximum imagery availability. The satellite sensors measure light reflected from the crop canopy. A thicker, healthier crop can be distinguished from bare soil or a thinner crop because of differences in the reflectance characteristics, which are shown in the raw satellite data.
When you are ready to apply nitrogen, the most recent satellite image will be used on which to base your variable application map.
Before the satellite image can be used it requires ground-truthing. This is done by carrying out a number of calibrations - at least fifty LAI ground measurements are made for every image. These are located throughout the U.K. and spread over a range of crop varieties, soils and drilling rates to ensure the best possible calibration results.
After calibration, satellite images that show variation in crop biomass can be converted into Leaf Area Index (LAI). The conversion into LAI provides a map that can be easily used and understood by growers and advisors.
The LAI map clearly shows areas of the field that have either more forward or backward crops. The maps make it simple to monitor crop development and form a base for nitrogen decision-making. Whole farm maps are also created to aid further decision making.
A number of nitrogen fertiliser models can be applied to the LAI map. Typically, the HGCA Winter Wheat Growth Guide model is used to produce nitrogen application maps by comparing the actual LAI in each part of the field with the target LAI for the crop's current growth stage. However, other models such as those that apply more N to forward areas can also be applied. The timing and base dose for each nitrogen split are controlled by the grower and nitrogen rates are calculated for each part of the field in line with variations in canopy size.
The nitrogen recommendation can be provided as an application map to suit any GPS application system. The maps can be based on liquid or solid N and be viewed before application, giving the grower the chance to make any adjustments.
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