Agri-Tech Week: Soil Monitoring and Crop Management

CHAP’s Innovation Sector Lead Amy Farrington attended the AHDB online webinar, Technologies to Enhance Soil Monitoring and Crop Management, as part of Agri-Tech Week 2020.

The AHDB webinar investigated methodologies for measuring soil quality and composition through four different research projects across the UK.

The presentations began with an exploration into the use of an infra-red spectroscopy technique (FTIR), devised to establish the chemical composition and quality of soil organic matter by Dr Jean Robertson of the James Hutton Institute. This technique has the ability to quantify the proportions of mineral and organic matter, achieving a chemical fingerprint which can be used to predict proportions of soil carbon and nitrogen. This tool could have useful application in the study of soil variation as a result of crop rotation, and aid in the understanding of the impacts of changes in field management and cover crops.

Another presentation of interest was delivered by Dr Alice Milne of Rothamsted Research who presented the findings of a research project identifying management zones: using yield monitor data and satellite imagery to identify zones for differential management and support decision making.

By using the spectacularly named Fuzzy Cluster classification technique, yield change can be assessed across a field site, and highlight location-specific hotspots and within field variation, identifying management zones to the grower. This technique also has the subtlety of identifying seasonal variation and could potentially be used in the profiling of varieties for location specific use.

For more information about AgriTech Week, go to Agri-TechE.


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