Quantification of soil types and management zones
Better utilisation of inputs to these management zones
Innovative techniques for better nutrition packages and soil amelioration tactics
Maintain or improve crop yields where inputs are managed with soil needs
Reduction in over application of inputs in areas that have little or no requirement or return
A one time investment for life. EM and gamma soil collection does not need to be repeated
Starting with soil maps, building data layers based on seasonality is important for deeper understanding of your farm
Biomass and yield data help bolster our understanding of variability
Innovative and cutting-edge soil sampling techniques utilised, for best value for dollar return
We build variable rate prescription maps based on relative and accurate data to address soil and yield variability
Innovative soil sampling techniques utilised to maximise investment value to the grower
Expertise in yield and biomass data analysis, trial evaluation, soil amelioration techniques
VRT Solutions has worked hard to keep the costs of investing in this technology low on a per-hectare basis. Generally, adoption of this technology can potentially pay back in savings and higher efficiency of inputs within one to two years, with everything after that becoming a reward for adoption. Interestingly, we have had clients in the past pay off their investment in a single application of VR lime! In other cases, there may be no reduction in the quantities required, however optimised distribution and better use of inputs is the target.
Dual EM surveys are undertaken by VRT Solutions to measure soil electrical conductivity allowing soil variability to be mapped. The EM probe consists of horizontal and vertical electromagnetic fields that collect data simultaneously. The probe has a vertical measurement range of 1.5 metres and horizontal range of 0.5 metres, enabling a precise understanding of soil EM properties through the soil profile. The soil’s electromagnetic value relates to soil properties that are agronomically important, enabling a starting point for the management of soil variability.
Radiometric equipment is used to measure gamma ray emissions from the natural radioactive decay of elements within rocks and soil, in particular the emissions from isotopes of Potassium, Thorium and Uranium.
Radiometric measurements can be taken simultaneously with the Dual EM collection. The importance of having gamma data in tandem with EM data is sometimes crucial to accurately identification of soil type changes, particularly in areas where EM values are low.
For more information on using EM and Gamma together, see this research paper from the Grains Research & Development Corporation
Changes in EM readings across a typical paddock can be indicative of changes in salinity, clay percentage, and prescence of moisture and metal or several of these factors at once! In Western Australia, gamma radiometrics is a necessary sensor which provides a complimentary dataset which is collected simultaneously. We use both sensors together due to the high prevalence of low EM soils in WA.
In terms of standardising precision agriculture approach, EM38 surveys or DualEM surveys are becoming more commonplace as a starting point. An EM (Electromagnetic) and gamma radiometric soil survey offers a cost effective method to have a higher accuracy in variable rate (VR) applications. This in turn can lead to better cost recovery, and better crop performance.