February 28, 2023

How to reduce fertilizer costs using precision agriculture?

It is not only since the recent spikes in fertilizer prices, that farmers around the world are trying to reduce fertilizer costs. But reducing fertilizer costs per unit of agricultural produce has always been a strong incentive for farmers. If a farmer needs less fertilizer to produce the same or even a higher amount of a crop while sustaining long-term soil health, then he or she effectively increases his or her earnings. Besides, unwanted side-effects of fertilization like leaching and GHG emissions, are minimized and thus the overall environmental footprint of fertilization is reduced. 

But how fertilizer costs can be reduced?

Fertilizer costs can be reduced by a variety of factors, including:

  1. Soil Testing: Conducting soil tests can help determine the nutrients already present in the soil, allowing you to tailor your fertilizer application to what your crops need.
  2. Satellite Imagery: Satellite imagery can monitor fields more closely, allowing the identification of areas of the field that may need more or less fertilizer. This avoids over-fertilizing and can lead to better decisions about when and how much fertilizer to apply.
  3. Variable Rate Fertilizer Application: Instead of applying the same amount of fertilizer across an entire field, variable rate fertilizer application uses technology to apply different amounts of fertilizer in different areas of the field based on soil type, crop needs, and other factors. This can result in more precise fertilizer application and can help reduce overall fertilizer costs.
  4. Increasing soil organic matter: In the long term, increasing soil organic matter can vastly improve the soil's capability to hold nutrients and make them accessible to the root system of crops. An easy way to determine the soil organic matter is to do soil testing in various parts of the field. Some farmers test their ‘fence line’, the edge of a field where no crops are planted. Sometimes the fence line has higher soil organic matter than other parts of the field, which might indicate soil organic matter depreciation. Increasing soil organic matter can in turn be done, for example, by reducing tillage, choosing the right crop rotation, and planting cover crops. These three approaches can help improve soil health, reduce erosion, and increase the availability of nutrients in the soil.

How ListenField can help you to reduce fertilizer costs?

We help our customers to reduce their fertilizer costs while increasing their yield, utilizing a variety of cutting-edge technologies and techniques:

  1. Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS): We are providing one of the easiest ways to get your soil tested by using portable, easy-to-use, and cost-effective NIRS. By creating a soil map, we can better determine the specific nutrition needs of your fields. 
  2. Satellite Imagery: Besides actually digging the soil, there are several other factors to determine the soil conditions. Our FarmAI Dashboard helps to monitor crop conditions to make better decisions for fertilization.
  3. Variable Rate Fertilizer Application: Together with the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and several other partners, we are currently working on Variable Rate Application (VRA). In the project, we are working closely with farmers to understand their needs and provide suitable technologies to reduce fertilizer costs.

If you want to explore how we can work together on more efficient fertilizer use, please send us an email at info@listenfield.com

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