Using test strips & sensors to diagnose crop growth limitations
Location: In the west midlands area
Project Start Date: January 2015
Project End Date: December 2016
Project Aim: To work alongside growers, to apply test strips of various management practices including; windrows, fertilisers, lime, wetting agents and cultivations, across their paddocks. The presence or absence of responses to these strips will stimulate further tissue and soil sampling for analyses and the total results will be interpreted by experts. This project provides information to landholders which will assist them in better managing the natural soil resource. This includes improved nutrient use efficiency and reducing nutrient leaching; reduced soil acidity; reducing soil compaction and reducing the risk of soil erosion due to wind.
The project will also encourage the opportunistic use of observed better growth patches (such as windrows and old ash heaps) in paddocks to investigate why they are there, and whether they can give insights into why the rest of the management unit is performing at a lower level.
The second half of the project will test the usefulness of recently, commercially available, electronic sensors which can measure crop and soil processes on and off the contrasting growth of the strips and patches.
The latest Apple technology will be used to monitor plants’ health. The software is called flower power and is currently used for pot plants. Information such as light, temperature, fertilizer and water will be recorded and available via Bluetooth and Smart Ready devices: iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 3 or later, iPad mini and iPod touch (5th generation). This technology will be tested and compared to traditional technology, which is a lot more expensive in the field.