Russian crop nutrient monitoring system to optimise fertiliser use

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PhosAgro subsidiary, PhosAgro-Region – Russia’s largest mineral fertiliser distribution network – and Exact Farming have developed a digital system for monitoring the effectiveness of mineral fertilisers. The two companies estimate that the new digital field monitoring system could boost income by up to RUB 500 million (€5.5 million) per harvest per 100,000 hectares of farmed land.

The joint project, which was unveiled at the recent Russian Agrarian Forum, enables agricultural producers to control the application of mineral fertilisers and to monitor their effectiveness using remote sensors. The system is currently being piloted in nearly 20 regions of Russia.

The automated system monitors the condition of crops, enabling PhosAgro-Region’s agronomic service to make recommendations for adjusting the mineral nutrition being applied to crops based on remote sensor data, an analysis of vegetation spectral indices, meteorological data and information from farms. An important element of this system is digital satellite monitoring, which makes it possible to see fields in their entirety from the ground.

NFC tags on fertiliser packaging

Information on the nutrient contents of different fertiliser grades is input into the system using NFC tags on PhosAgro’s fertiliser packaging. The tags can be read by a mobile app, which transmits the data to the Exact Farming satellite agronomic monitoring system and links a particular fertiliser to specific geo-coordinates. Analysis of data on the results of the use of mineral fertilisers in dozens of Russian regions will make it possible to automate the selection of mineral crop nutrients for various combinations of crops and agrometeorological conditions.

Early results are encouraging: During the pilot implementation of the system, Exact Farming reported the financial impact of timely interventions and corrections to crop nutrition as being equivalent to RUB 5,500 per hectare for sunflowers, and from RUB 3,500 to RUB 7,500 per hectare for spring wheat, corn and sugar beet. “This means that the impact of this new digital system on a farm with 100,000 hectares of arable land could reach up to RUB 0.5 billion,” noted Anna Kudinova, CEO, Exact Farming.

Anna Kudinova, CEO, Exact Farming [Image Source: events.vedomosti.ru]

Anna Kudinova, CEO, Exact Farming [Image Source: events.vedomosti.ru]

The ability to process and analyse large volumes of agronomic data on an ongoing basis makes it possible for our customers to evaluate the effectiveness of various nutrition systems; and to adapt them both independently or with the help of automated tools to the agronomic conditions of specific fields,” concluded PhosAgro-Region development director, Maxim Zatochny.

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