Remote sensing forecasts nitrogen demand in rice

20-10-2020 | |
Photo: Canva
Photo: Canva

Sentera has announced a partnership with Anheuser-Busch under which Sentera will deliver grower-level insights to forecast nitrogen demand in rice production. This technology, delivered using advanced remote sensing tools, will empower growers to improve productivity and profitability by optimising nitrogen usage.

Anheuser-Busch’s agronomy team will deploy this technology to make precise, field-level nutrient and nitrogen prescriptions that help rice growers reach their highest quality yields.

Correct application of fertiliser

“Nitrogen is one of the biggest input costs rice growers have today, and the correct application of fertiliser has enormous implications for plant health, yields, grower profits and the environment,” said Zach Marston, principal scientist at Sentera.

“While currently there are ways to systematically manage nitrogen demand, this solution enables us to get a baseline for the field, recommend a rate and closely monitor plant health throughout the growing season to modify additional applications accordingly. Ultimately, this empowers us to make adaptive decisions regarding nitrogen applications and management.”

Rice a key ingredient for Anheuser-Busch

Rice is one of the most important cereal crops in the world and a key ingredient for brewers such as Anheuser-Busch. While nitrogen application improves grain yields and quality, excessive application of fertiliser can cause “luxuriant” growth, leaving the plant more susceptible to disease.

Growth that is too rapid can also reduce stem strength, resulting in plant lodging under moderate wind conditions. In addition, over-applying nitrogen provides no benefit to the plant and has negative effects on the environment via leaching and denitrification, and on a grower’s profit margin.

Remote sensing to determine optimum nitrogen use rate

“We are very excited about the use of remote sensing to determine optimum nitrogen use rate in rice. I envision a very positive impact for our rice producers and our rice mill here in Jonesboro, AR,” said Bill Jones, rice agronomy manager at Anheuser-Busch.

“We are now able to provide farmers the tools and data they need to become more sustainable in their nitrogen applications and growing practices. They‘ll be able to improve their bottom lines while continuing to produce a high-quality rice crop.”

Since 2017, Anheuser-Busch and Sentera have worked together to create digital tools that cultivate a healthier growing environment and deliver critical agronomic insights throughout the world.

Smart agriculture

In April 2018, Anheuser-Busch launched its U.S. 2025 Sustainability Goals, focused on four key areas: renewable electricity and carbon reduction, water stewardship, smart agriculture and circular packaging. Smart agriculture refers to having 100 percent of Anheuser-Busch’s direct farmers highly skilled, connected and financially empowered to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and deliver new innovations.

Hugo Claver Web editor for Future Farming