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07.12.2018 - Wolfgang Rudolph (Send email to Wolfgang Rudolph)

A pioneer in fertilizer management

A pioneer in fertilizer management

At the haggard next to a forest edge close to the Thuringian town of Hildburghausen, driver Frank Erdenbrecher loads the fertilizer container of the Güstrow spreader on the Unimog U 530 with lime in mid-September. The vehicle is from the technology park of the Raiffeisen Warengenossenschaft Hildburghausen - a long-standing customer of Agricon. Their range of services includes fertilization and plant protection for 15 farms in the region on a total area of around 30,000 ha. A blue N-Sensor® is mounted on the roof of the agricultural truck. It is one of the first models made by Yara: "We have been working with it since 2000. It is serviced every year and works reliably," reports Managing Director Eberhard Tanzberger. The N-Sensor® is one of the technical requirements for the complete package of regular soil sampling and sub-area specific fertilization, which is used by the majority of the
agricultural companies we support.


Lime is spread according to Agricon's application maps using a Unimog with fertilizer spreader. Photo: Carmen Rudolph

In the field of basic fertilization, this is done in cooperation with the Hildburghausen communal machinery service. "We carry out soil sampling on 6,000 ha of land every year and repeat it every five years. In this way, we have an overview of the nutrient supply on the entire arable land," says communal machinery service Managing Director Manfred Müller. The sampling in a grid of 3 ha is carried out with two semi-automatic devices at the rear of off-road cars. The vehicles move in a Z-shape in each of the grid sub-areas previously defined on the computer. The lane is recorded via GPS device when the first sampling of the field is carried out and serves as a template for the route to be followed when it is repeated. During short stops the lance of the sampling device pierces the ground. The mixed sample of up to 20 soil samples per grid is examined by a laboratory. The results of the nutrient analysis are entered into the digital map of the field. The application map derived from this forms the working basis for the ISOBUS control of the spreader on the Unimog of the Hildburghausen-based service provider during the basic fertilization from July to October.

During spring, Eberhard Tanzberger determines the effect of lime application on the availability of nutrients in the soil on selected areas using the N-Tester® by Yara. "The guideline value for the amount of nitrogen required is derived from the chlorophyll values of the plant leaves and taking into account an addition or deduction according to the annually updated variety table," explains the 65-year-old. The second and third nutrient dosage is applied on a sub-area-specific basis. For this purpose, the Unimog, that thanks to all-wheel steering does not leave the created lanes with any wheel even in the headland area and when manoeuvring, first drives through the crop and scans the average fertilizer requirement with the N-Sensor®. Fertilization according to the naturally varying requirements in the field areas is then carried out during the passes by the online control of the spreader on the basis of the measurement results of the N-Sensor® on the cab roof.


Eberhard Tanzberger can rely on agriPORT for fertilization planning. Photo: Carmen Rudolph

"We have a huge amount of data that needs to be managed and we can do this the best with agriPORT a software provided by Agricon", explains Tanzberger. All those
involved can access the cloud-based system via the farm computer or mobile devices. Thus, the agricultural companies use the appropriate software modules to create the application maps, taking into account the planned crop rotation. The basis for this are the results of the soil samples entered into the agriPORT system by the communal machinery service. The maps are then sent by e-mail to the on-board computer in the fertilizer spreader of the agricultural contractor. Then again, in the shared order management system the agricultural companies stay up to date about the progress of the application. "This has gone down very well. Otherwise, the coordination of site-specific fertilization between the various farms and service providers on the many individual fields would hardly be feasible," the contractor is convinced.

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