Hosted by Manterra Ltd at Cawood, Near York tru nject logo

 

 

The event

20 Sustainable Futures farmers and supply chain partners met up to look at the potential for using the latest soil analysing technology. TruNject is a three way collaboration between Stockbridge Technology Centre, Manterra Ltd and Cranfield University developing leading edge equipment that will help producers make the right decisions regarding on farm specific nitrogen management.

 

Area of specialism

The supply chain partners present learnt about how this new sensor, when attached to a sub-soiler, can provide data on soil elements and nutrient content at a far greater resolution than conventional methods. The new equipment can take up to 1500 readings per Hectare, creating very high resolution soil maps.

These maps when used in-conjunction with other GPS technology could vary nutrient application to crops metre by metre and bed by bed, to an accuracy, previously unheard of in the agricultural sector.

 

TruNject

 

Group Learning

Presentations from Doctor David George of STC and Andrew Manfield of Manterra outlined how the technology worked and how it could be used as a tool to optimise the use of fertiliser on farm. The technology will enable farmers to gain the long-term financial benefits from improved farm profitability, whilst at the same time reducing their environmental impact and producing a higher quality and more uniform crop at harvest.

The audience were then able to see the new sensing and injection equipment. Sadly on the day, it was too wet for a practical in field demo. Over three field seasons, the project team outlined how they would test and refine the system. The goal is providing a fully supported commercially available service. This offer will combine existing crop-sensing technologies with a vis-NIRS soil sensor (Cranfield) that will map soil fertility parameters to extremely high resolutions. VRA of liquid N is being used on Tru-Nject crops via a spoke-wheel below ground injection system, placing N into the moist, subsurface root-zone.

 


The presentations showed the additional benefits over and above variable rate spreading of injecting the fertiliser as a liquid close to the growing roots of the crop. Their work showed that the fertiliser because it was placed in close proximity to the roots was more readily taken up by the plant. This better utilised the chemical inputs and resulted in less residual nutrients which being lost to leaching.

The new system, which was offered to Sustainable Futures farmers to trial, clearly results in a win; win for the farmer and the environment, and shows how ‚Äúprofiting from sustainability‚ÄĚ really can be the end result of investments such as TruNject in the Agri-Food sector.