John Deere and Airbus have collaborated to create a tool called Live NBalance. This tool is capable of live monitoring of nitrogen balance in the field. The project is based on a combination of satellite images and machinery data, which continuously observe nitrogen uptake by the crop in each part of the field.

John Deere noted that the tool is capable of precisely checking the efficiency of a particular nitrogen application. The service was designed to allow farmers to make accurate, informed, site-specific decisions about fertiliser application.

Farmers will be able to observe the details of the total nitrogen uptake over time through satellite images. John Deere also explained that farmers will be able to identify non-uniform uptake rates and delays in plant growth. The farmer will be able to see how much nitrogen is still available to the crop at any time, or if the plants aren’t getting enough, etc.

After the harvest, this tool summarises the total N applied and removed, ready to use for regulation purposes if required.

This new tool is set to coincide with John Deere’s manure sensing system using the HarvestLab 3000 sensor on slurry tankers where nitrogen and NH4-N content of slurry is measured. As previously reported by the Irish Farmers Journal, the HarvestLab 3000 sensor also measures the nitrogen content in the harvested crop as it passes through the forager.

All of this NBalance data is easily accessible for users on the cloud.