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If Your Crops Could Talk, What Would They Say?

by Apr 23, 2012DirectCommand®

Did you ever think you would see a day when a plant tells a grower what it needs? With a little help from the precision farming tools available from Ag Leader, that day came when the OptRx™ crop sensor was introduced to the market.

By emitting a light source, the sensors measure crop health based on plant mass and light reflectivity readings. The crop health is represented by a value called the Vegetative Index (VI). DirectCommand™ through the Ag Leader® Integra display uses the VI to determine the crop’s nitrogen needs in real-time. DirectCommand then adjusts the nitrogen application rate on-the-fly based on readings from the OptRx sensors to apply the optimum amount of nitrogen. When plants get the right amount of nitrogen, they are more likely to thrive and achieve greater yield potential at harvest time.

Crop Sensor Rate Table

As growers have become more creative with the technology, the question was asked: what other agrochemicals could be applied using the OptRx crop sensing technology?{image1} The precision farming experts at Ag Leader got busy and recently added a way for growers to use OptRx crop sensors for applying varying rates of any product to any crop based on the crops’ health.That is why we have added the Crop Sensor Rate Table to the growing lists of options available through DirectCommand on the Ag Leader® Integra display. Many agrochemicals, such as fertilizers, pesticides, defoliants, growth regulators and others, can be more effectively applied if the rates are varied according to crop health. The new Rate Table allows growers to choose a VI range and assign the recommended rates based on those ranges.

Limitless Options There are an unlimited number of ways in which a user, while working with an agronomist or crop consultant, could put the Rate Table to use in their own operation. Here are some examples:

Cotton growers attempting to improve efficiency with the amount of defoliant they apply can use OptRx sensors with the Rate Table to apply more on the healthier plants and reduce the amount applied to the weaker plants. This improves application efficiency and can reduce the number of trips through the field resulting in input cost savings.

Similarly, potato and soybean growers are working with agronomists to investigate ways to improve fungicide applications by varying the rate applied to the crops. The goal is to increase the effectiveness of their fungicide application without increasing the amount applied.

Other vegetable growers are also utilizing the Rate Table to improve pesticide applications based on real-time field data. Growers with the Ag Leader Integra display can take advantage of the new Rate Table by updating their firmware to 3.3.

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