“The agricultural economy currently faces uncertainty, so it is more important than ever for farmers to have tools to better control their costs and improve performance,” says Alex Dinsdale, SOYL’s Area Manager for Norfolk. SOYL is one of multiple organisations exhibiting at the Royal Norfolk Show’s Innovation Hub, an initiative led by Agri-Tech East and the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA).
“On a single farm, there is a great deal of variation between fields; in topography, soil type, and nutrition levels. Many crop inputs such as fertilisers interact with and are influenced by the soil. Tailoring these applications to the exact soil conditions can help to avoid under-applications – which can hold back yield and returns – and over-applications, which can waste money.”
Taking advantage of the latest generation of satellites to track crop development, SOYL is set to showcase the benefits of precision soil sampling. Using an app on an iPad or iPhone, the company can show how to cost-effectively plan variable rate seed drilling and fertiliser spreading, as well as in-field crop scouting for pest damage, weed infestations and other problems.
Professor Mario Caccamo of Agrimetrics says: “Farmers can use their smartphones to collect information about planting date, emergence of the crops and images of the canopy to receive an update on the potential size and quality of potato tubers under the soil in their field.”
Camera phones offer the opportunity to understand the special world of spuds. Visitors to the stand will have the opportunity to see this in action, by taking images of a potato plant canopy.
In addition, a 3D water catchment model, root systems and laboratory water analysis will be demonstrated by the University of East Anglia (UEA) to show how mitigation measures can limit the amount of nitrate that ends up in the river Wensum.
“The Wensum Alliance Demonstration Test Catchment Project provides an opportunity to test and assess the effectiveness of a variety of land management measures to reduce this pollution whilst maintaining farm profitability, which is of vital importance to the agricultural community,” says Ruth Welters, Relationship Manager at UEA.
The University of Essex will also be in attendance, with hands-on activities including monitoring photosynthetic efficiency and plant stress. Meanwhile, Norfolk’s Crop Angel will be displaying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones).
The Innovation Hub, sponsored by BBRO, will take place on 28 and 29 June 2017 on stand 271 at the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, Norfolk Showground, Dereham Road, Norwich.