Trimble ‘roadshow’ soil analysis system

11 Jul, 2018 04:00 AM
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Vantage WA's Josh Pearse with the Trimble Soil Information Services vehicle. Josh was conducting Soil Information Services system work at Geraldton.
Vantage WA's Josh Pearse with the Trimble Soil Information Services vehicle. Josh was conducting Soil Information Services system work at Geraldton.

GUESTS attending the 2018 CTF Workshop Roadshow this month at Meckering, Esperance and Mingenew will get to hear first-hand about Trimble Agriculture’s game-changing 3D soil analysis system.

During the roadshow Vantage WA precision agronomist Bryan Granshaw will present the new Soil Information Services (SiS) system, which has started gaining traction in WA.

The system produces what can only be compared to an MRI of the soil it analyses.

What differentiates it from anything else on the market is the system’s ability to declare where to look for soil issues.

Using electro-magnetic induction sensing and taking into account the topography of the soil, SiS on-board Data Acquisition Analysis Software (DAAS) determines locations within a field that are substantially different to the rest of the field’s soil.

Once it identifies points of difference, the locations are investigated with a unique soil probe that reveals the physical properties of soil.

Undisturbed soil cores are taken from locations most representing the soil variability as determined by DAAS and sent to a lab to be analysed.

The post processed soil maps created from SiS provide spatial context to soil information and allow farmers to improve their management decisions to rectify any issues.

“Treatment prescriptions aren’t made from the assumption that regions of a field are similar, therefore require the same treatment,” Mr Granshaw said.

Compaction and acidity are two trending problems affecting a large percentage of soil throughout WA, particularly sandy soils which are very susceptible to low PH levels and are easy to compact, especially while using heavy machinery.

The SiS system can reveal to farmers where these issues are most prevalent in their paddocks so they can develop management strategies to take the guess work out of fertiliser and chemical application.

Mr Granshaw said once farmers knew where the paddocks were most affected by low PH levels, they’d be able to use a variable rate application based on several SiS mapping layers to apply treatment where needed.

“Farmers won’t be doing anything differently to manage their acidity,” he said.

“They’ll still spread lime across their paddocks, the only difference is, when they use SiS they’ll be confident in knowing how much to put where.”

SiS can pinpoint parts of a paddock that are compacted, which could be limiting effective rooting depth and plant available water throughout the growing season.

Mr Granshaw said the maps developed by SiS could help farmers to develop strategic tillage operations and to initiate controlled traffic plans to minimize compaction in their fields.

FarmWeekly

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