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SOYL adds near real-time biomass imagery to MySOYL

Satellite crop imagery available almost ‘live’ is the latest upgrade for the MySOYL web-based management tool from UK-based precision farming specialist SOYL.

It enables growers and agronomists to monitor the crop performance of any field over time, to potentially provide more accurate data analysis in conjunction with all the other precision data layers recorded.

“Any SOYL customer with fields recorded in the MySOYL system can view images taken at any time in the last 5 years,” explains Tom Parker, the company’s head of products and technology.

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A satellite image showing highest levels of crop biomass in green, medium in yellow and lowest in red. - Photos: SOYL
A satellite image showing highest levels of crop biomass in green, medium in yellow and lowest in red. - Photos: SOYL

“We’ve been using these types of images commercially for more than 10 years for our variable rate nitrogen and plant growth regulator services but now they can be used to show any combination of farms, fields or crops and offer an innovative way of exploring crop variation.”

Each image a form of qualitative real-time data

The images are acquired from satellites and then processed to show the variation in crop biomass across multiple fields. Each image is effectively a form of qualitative real-time data, add Tom Parker, because it takes only a short time for the data to reach the MySOYL application.

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Biomass and other data layers for the same fields can be compared in the MySOYL management programme.
Biomass and other data layers for the same fields can be compared in the MySOYL management programme.

Fergus Hawkins, an agronomist with agricultural crop production company Frontier, welcomes the new facility: “Where growers are not using precision application techniques such as yield mapping, the biomass imagery gives us more information than we’d normally have to help with our management of the fields.

Biomass imagery is a welcome addition for determining which crop inputs to use and the appropriate levels of those inputs

“This is particularly useful when there is no option to use variable application rates and where precision application technology is being used, biomass imagery is a welcome addition for determining which crop inputs to use and the appropriate levels of those inputs.”

In potatoes, highlighting areas of low biomass in fields pin-points where to investigate potential issues such as soil-borne pests, diseases and poor soil structure.

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A crop biomass distribution map showing areas considered ‘forward’ or trailing in terms of plant development for the time of year. It could help inform decisions on whether to hold back areas early on in the growing season and those that should be pushed for yield later on.
A crop biomass distribution map showing areas considered ‘forward’ or trailing in terms of plant development for the time of year. It could help inform decisions on whether to hold back areas early on in the growing season and those that should be pushed for yield later on.

Compare biomass images from previous years

The biomass images can be viewed with other data layers within MySOYL, including macro-nutrients, soil types and yield maps, so growers can explore how soil type is influencing the current crop’s development, for example; what effects pH or potassium are exhibiting; and how the developing crop compares to previous yield maps of the same crop.

It is also possible to compare biomass images from previous years to pick up clues from when weather and other influences were similar to the current season.

Also read: Online mapping tool makes it easier to zone fields

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