Aug 04, 2016

Satellite experts to help farmers improve fertiliser applications

Agronomists and farmers could be set to benefit from a partnership between University of Leicester researchers and Precise Crop Nutrition Ltd (PCNL). Leicester experts in satellite imagery and high performance computing will work with the company to develop a system to help farmers and their advisors make better use of satellite images to develop variable rate nitrogen fertiliser application plans for their crops.

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It follows an award of £118,500, including £45K to the University, from Innovate UK and NERC, to fund a year-long technical feasibility study – the first funding success for the University’s new Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation.

Precise Crop Nutrition Ltd currently offer the Precise N-Map service using centrally processed data which is delivered electronically to each farm. The development of the new system will offer a quicker and more flexible way to convert data and will allow agronomists and farmers to be more closely involved in crop management recommendations.

Robin Thompson, Managing Director of Precise Crop Nutrition Ltd: “This is a very exciting development for our company and will help us take our existing N-Map service to the next level. Expertise from the University of Leicester will be invaluable in helping us develop the system for use in the field leading to significant benefits for our clients and, we hope, even greater uptake of our service.”

Tanya Vladimirova, a Professor in the Department of Engineering and Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation, is leading the project. She said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Precision Crop Nutrition Ltd towards improving fertiliser management. Their expertise in precision agriculture technology is crucially important for our understanding of the application.”

“The University is committed to working with industrial partners and applying our expertise to real applications. This project will give a new impetus to our space-related research on accelerated high-performing computing in embedded systems and will serve as a basis for future applications.”