From now on, the optimisation of fertiliser use enters another level of rationality. Firstly, precision treatments are tied in with a fertilisation plan. Second, fertilisation plans take into account variability in yield, soil nutrient abundance and past treatments. Third, when planning an individual treatment, you get an instant feedback on the extent into which it fulfils the plan. Fourth, the plan is compatible with the new CAP’s eco-scheme, so not only do you implement variable rate application, but also your costs are also more than covered.
It must be said that when it comes to nutrient management, we have taken a non-standard path – from the specific to the general. It started with a single precision treatment. We spent a lot of effort to ensure that users had maximum control over the process of responding to crop variability. There were quite a few challenges in terms of automatic processing of satellite data and compatibility with different types of machinery. Now, thanks to that work, fertilisation plans can have a spatial dimension, i.e. from now on we fertilise in 3D.
The fertilisation plan implemented in SatAgro reflects the principles of the new Common Agricultural Policy and takes into account the legal requirements of the eco-scheme ‘Carbon farming and nutrient management’. According to the guidelines of the Agency for the Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture, eco-scheme-compliant fertilisation plans, specifying the doses of nutrients (N, P, K, Mg and the need for liming), can be developed using the INTER-NAW tool, or any other tool developed specifically for that purpose.
A range of parameters, based on the new legislation and guidelines, are prompted to the user when defining a fertilisation plan in the SatAgro platform. For example, if you are creating a plan for a crop field for which you have previously defined a crop type and an expected yield, all this information will be brought in automatically, along with the pre-computed nutrient requirement. We would not be ourselves if, already at this stage, we did not allow you to indicate the zones of variable yield (derived from our beautiful photos or maps from your harvester) and to differentiate in space the expected yield, so that the assumed crop requirements are (much) more realistic.
Determining crop’s nutritional requirements is the first step in creating a fertilisation plan. If you are interested in the description of the entire process, please refer to the instructions. Here, we will only mention that, in addition to spatial variability in yield, our plans also allow to take into account the second key type of variability – zones of soil nutrient abundance, typically characterised with the aid of soil sampling.
How much effort is required to define a fertilisation plan? In the case of nitrogen, the eco-scheme allows you to assume certain amounts of mineral nitrogen, depending on the soil class, without testing the soil. So, in principle, within the first hour of defining a crop field in your SatAgro account, you can already have such a fertilisation plan ready. However, other plans for phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium require up-to-date soil test results, which we will be happy to help you integrate into your SatAgro account. If necessary, together with our partners, we can also arrange the survey, preferably using the sampling scheme based on the natural soil zones derived with our module dedicated for that task.
As a next step in our work in this area, we focus on the interface devoted to the entire eco-scheme. Nonetheless, it is already possible to document basically all of its elements in SatAgro, including photo evidence from the field. Please contact us if you need help creating a plan or integrating this tool into your offering. If your region has different rules linked to eco-schemes, we will be happy to implement them. We strive to make the new way of treatments management and reporting as hassle-free as possible, and to ensure that it translates into real benefits.
SatAgro implementation of fertilisation plans and eco-schemes is linked to our participation in the AgricaptureCO2 project.