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Reducing fertiliser usage by 40% using satellite imagery

By means of using satellite imagery, a Swedish start-up Vultus claims to be able to reduce the leaching of nitrogen from fertilisers in to the environment by 40%. The concept was launched 16 March.

Vultus uses satellite imagery to identify varied conditions and different nutrient needs within them and to provide farmers with the up-to-date analysis and easy-to-follow nitrogen recommendations. According to the company, 60% of nitrogen fertilisers are wasted because they are not applied at the right moment and in the correct dosage. This is said to lead to unhealthy crops and environmental problems. The excess of nitrogen fertiliser also emits the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, which in Sweden alone is the cause of 7% of CO2.

A vegetation index created using satellite imagery. Photo: Vultus
A vegetation index created using satellite imagery. Photo: Vultus

Fertiliser savings

The system will start on 5.5 million hectares and is estimated to save about 2.3 million tons of CO2, which is the equivalent to the amount of CO2 released during 258,000 car trips from Sweden to South Africa. Vultus has calculated that for a typical farmer, these up-to-date satellite recommendations could save up to 40% of the fertilisers, whilst increasing yields and crop quality. For a medium sized (Swedish) farmer who cultivates 250 hectares, the system could save approximately €15,000 per year, says the company.

Vultus uses satellite imagery to identify varied conditions and different nutrient needs. Photo: Vultus
Vultus uses satellite imagery to identify varied conditions and different nutrient needs. Photo: Vultus

About Vultus

Vultus was founded in 2016 by William Håkansson (22) and Robert Schmitt (20). Since then, the team has grown to 9 people and the technology has been used by farmers and seed developers, in Sweden, during 2 growing seasons.

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