Live demonstration of ‘Revolutionary’ new soil station at Cereals show

A cutting-edge soil station that is helping farmers across the UK and Europe to transform their fertiliser application regimes has been installed at the Cereals Show, enabling farmers to see the equipment in action next week.

The Paul-Tech soil station has been installed in a winter wheat plot and has been capturing data for the past three months, offering unrivalled insights into the nutrients available to the crop in the soil.

This live demonstration at Cereals on June 11 and 12 will help to show how the technology is enabling British growers to gather the most detailed picture of the health of UK soils ever created.

Following its launch in the UK earlier this year, more than 30 farms have now installed the technology.  In Europe, farmers have been using the soil station for a number of years to dramatically increase profitability by cutting fertiliser use.

Created by Estonian company Paul Tech, the soil station accurately measures nutrient movement through the soil to help growers make better decisions about when to apply fertiliser to optimise Nutrient Uptake Efficiency (NUE).

The technology has already enabled one Finish onion grower, AFC Uussaari, to cut nitrogen use by 70% while improving yield by 5%. This equates to an 82kg/h saving on fertiliser.

Mikk Plakk, Chief Executive of Paul-Tech, said: “The technology has already proven its value across Europe, enabling farmers to get a much richer picture of how nitrogen and other nutrients move through the soil.

“Initial trials in the UK are going well and the soil station at Cereals will help to show farmers how they can not only get unparalleled insights into what is going on under the surface of their fields, but can also get clear evidence about when fertiliser applications are actually needed.

“This level of information gives farmers the power to make far better decisions and this is reflected in yields when it comes to harvest.”

Mikk and his team will be at Cereals on stand 1177 and the soil station is located in the winter wheat plot.

The data captured over the past three months has tracked the initial fertiliser application and two subsequent sprayings of the crop, clearly showing nutrients have remained available to the plant and that growth has been optimised.

With each rainfall, the soil station tracks nutrients dissolving and becoming available to the plant. The data will be able to view at Cereals and Mikk and his team will be providing demonstrations.

The system works by having sensors at two different depths in the soil which track the nutrients moving between them.

This can be plotted in real-time via an online dashboard which shows if the nutrients are leaching quickly away or are being held around the roots for plants to absorb.

Regenerative agriculture and carbon capture consultancy Future Food Solutions is one of the UK teams to have embraced the Paul-Tech technology and has deployed the soil station at four UK farms.

Director Paul Rhodes says: “It is really, really useful. One of the missing pieces is understanding what the plant roots have available to them and what the soil is making available.

“This can accurately measure that and help farmers make better decisions about the timing of applications and how much goes on the fields. We’re trialling it on four farms to see how useful it is and if it continues to prove it’s worth, we’ll be using it more.”

Mikk adds: “The soil station at Cereals proves the crop has been managed well and nutrients have been kept in the optimum range – I’m expecting to see a quality crop at the show as a result.

“With the data the soil station provides, growers can understand what conditions maximise NUE and which cause nutrient leaching, and can adjust their fertiliser applications in line with that

“This system can deliver significant savings to farmers but, more importantly, it ensures they can make the right decisions and have clear evidence that they are farming well.

“It is helping to revolutionise the way farmers across Europe operate and, as more farmers across the UK adopt this unique technology, we will quickly build a national picture of soil health in this country. That can be very powerful for the future of a sustainable UK agriculture sector.”

Original article: Farming Online

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