Tractor News

Way To Detect Nitrogen In Crops

We're always looking for updates on how technology is being employed in farms to further improve the yield. And in an interesting turn of events, a study from the University Of Illinois has found a way to detect the nitrogen level in the crops. This study while in its' preliminary stages could change the way technology works in fields! Imagine being able to detect nutrient deficiency before your crop starts showing symptoms of it.

Nitrogen fertilizers are used by farmers all throughout the country to boost crop yield. Farmers are looking for techniques to pinpoint the ideal application amount as input costs and environmental concerns rise. Excessive nitrogen hampers the growth of the plant and adversely affects soil health as well.

A research team from the University of Illinois employed hyperspectral sensors on planes to understand the real-time nitrogen status of a corn crop in a recently published study.

"Field nitrogen measurements are time- and labor-intensive," said Sheng Wang, lead author of the study, in a news release. She added that the airborne hyperspectral sensing technology allowed them to scan the fields very quickly, at a few seconds per acre. It also delivers far higher spectral and geographical resolution than similar satellite-based research.

The quantity of energy reflected off the ground is affected by nitrogen and chlorophyll levels. Researchers used hyperspectral sensors to detect changes of just 3 to 5 nanometers over their entire range. The co-author of the study, Kaiyu Guan claimed that while usual satellite imagery programs detected the visible spectrum, the hyperspectral sensors could do so much more than just that.

The key concept of a technology like that is to provide farmers the ability to measure what is the ideal nutrient quantity for them. Farmers in developed nations would see a further improvement in their crop yields if they were able to employ this technology. And perhaps, their study could encourage other, developing nations to conduct studies on the same lines and come up with technology that can help uplift the farmer of their respective nations.

Nutrient losses are often only detected after it is a little bit too late. Employing sensors could change the game for farmers in the realm of physiological plant disorders.