Having won a years use of an ISARIA system after he entered a competition organised by CF Fertilisers UK Ltd at Cereals 2015, Jon Birchall is now putting this next-generation variable-rate application technology to work on the 1500-acre Sundorne Estate near Shrewsbury which he manages through its agent, Balfours LLP.
BASIS and FACTS registered, Jon took delivery of the Fritzmeier ISARIA machine in February and has already used it to scan crops of oilseed rape, winter wheat, winter barley and forage rye to evaluate their growth, analyse yield maps and plan fertiliser applications.
"One of the main reasons for wanting to trial the new Fritzmeier ISARIA technology is to compare the performance of the fertiliser N applications it recommends with current farm policy, because we hope this will yield exciting results. Initial results from using the system to scan our crops look very encouraging and should help us to farm even more precisely," states Jon.
Allison Grundy, an agronomist for CF Fertilisers UK Ltd, adds:
"As the UK’s leading fertiliser manufacturer, CF promotes the optimum use of all crop inputs and supports the use of technology with the potential to improve nutrient use efficiency, crop yields and quality. Though technology should never be viewed as a 'magic bullet' it can offer a very positive progression for farming businesses which have already optimised other aspects of their production.
"Farming profitably is now less about having revolutionary 'big ideas' but constantly evaluating and implementing small improvements which compound to produce an overall impact which is greater than the sum of their individual parts. That includes optimising the application of fertiliser, which is the most expensive crop input but is the most responsive and so offers the greatest potential to maximise yields and profitability.”
ISARIA, the latest in precision farming equipment, combines real time crop sensing and yield potential mapping to make precision N applications, the crop's N requirement being determined in real time, regardless of any previous N applications, by the reflectivity of its biomass.
The ISARIA crop sensor measures Nitrogen uptake and optimises the application rates of Nitrogen fertiliser across cereal and oilseed rape crops, resulting in improved yields and grain quality due to managing in-field variations. Precision application of Nitrogen also reduces lodging, promotes even ripening and helps improve combine performance.