Agriculture featured prominently in the recent CeBIT event for IT and digitisation, in Hannover, Germany.
At the centre of the exhibit was the Isaria crop sensor, which is mounted on a tractor’s front linkage, and measures a crop’s need for nitrogen (N) fertilisation.
Marketed by Claas, this highly proficient optical plant sensor automatically determines the nitrogen requirement of the crop as the tractor drives along, irrespective of the crop type and variety.
A measurement is taken of the light reflected by the crop, to calculate a vegetation index which reflects the current nitrogen supply to the crop.
The sensor measures the quantity of nitrogen which has already been absorbed by the crop up to that point in time, compares this measurement with a target value, and then calculates the missing nutrient amount needed.
The sensor can be used for any type of crop, at any time and regardless of the application method.
It can be calibrated on site for each crop.
With the sensor mounted at the front, and a fertiliser spreader at the back, continuous calculation of the optimum fertiliser rate and simultaneous spreading on-the-go is possible.
The crop sensor can be used in the day and at night.
It also measures crop density, and it documents all fertilisation measures.
The CeBIT exhibit combined machines from Claas, GEA Farm Technologies, Amazone, and the 365FarmNet software company, to show how tractors, crop sensors and other machines can communicate with each other.
It showed how maps based on satellite data guide the planting of the seed, and how weather data provided from 365FarmNet helps the farmer adjust the daily work schedule. The crop sensor ensures that only the quantity of fertiliser that is actually needed is applied.
Software from 365FarmNet also delivers the correct settings for the Amazone fertiliser spreader, for just a few clicks on a computer.
A GEA milking parlour was included in the exhibit, showing how it can measure milk production and cow health.
Even non-farming CeBIT visitors were impressed by how technology can make it much easier to achieve cost efficiency, animal well-being and good environmental management.
According to 365FarmNet, even small farms can now be managed with one software program, from dairy through to arable operations.
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