- OPTIFERT Dosing Unit
The OPTIFERT dosing unit has been designed to deliver any fertilizer combination needed for open field crops like corn, sugar beet, rapeseed, potatoes or wheat amongst others.
In the OPTIFERT dosing unit tanks, soluble in water fertilizers can be easily discharged using big bags. The two tanks allow making any combination of fertilizers desired with no risk of precipitates formation. The OPTIFERT dosing unit has been conceived to allow high flexibility: it can me coupled with any existing irrigation system, and can handle and deliver the required fertilizer concentrate no matter the irrigation water flow. This fully automatized system will adapt the injection ratio to the existing irrigation flow or speed, ensuring that the right fertilizer dose is deliver even if the irrigation rate is changed during the application. Once the fertilizer is discharged in the tanks and the system is switched on by the user, the mixing and dosing phases will follow automatically, with no other user input need.
It fully complies with the 80/68/EEC, 2006/21/EC, 2006/11/EC, 2006/118/EC European Directives and the German water act (Wasserhaushaltsgesetz BGBl. I S. 2585), and so can be safely installed at open-air fields.
By means of fertigation, the exact amount of fertilizer needed by the crop is delivered to the field, adapted to the crop growth needs in a just in time basis. This results on a better precision and control of the delivered fertilizer, better yields due to more effective fertilizer management and fertilizer savings.
- OPTIFERT Soil Sensor
In modern agriculture the amount of the macronutrients NO3, NH4, K and PO4 in soil is commonly adjusted by the application of fertilizers. The fertilizer dose has to be carefully adapted to the plant demands, since under-supply as well as over-supply lead to reduced yield. In addition, excessive use seriously harms the environment if fertilizers are not taken up by crops but get washed into ground water. In order to apply the appropriate amount of fertilizers, precise knowledge of nutrient concentrations in the soil is required.
At the moment there is no mobile and user-friendly system on the market, which allows measuring the concentrations of all these soil nutrients. Therefore, a fast and simple method for the routine surveillance of these nutrients is not yet available. Laboratory analysis or the complex application of several measurement procedures have to be applied. As a consequence, the applied fertilizer dose is often based on estimations, with adverse effects on environment and profit.
We have developed a soil nutrient sensor system for the combined measurement of NO3, NH4, K and PO4 at the field. For the measurement, a soil sample is suspended in a universal extraction liquid. After filtration, the amount of dissolved nutrients is measured in this liquid. In this way, only a single extraction procedure followed by a single measurement is required, minimising the work for the generation of nutrient concentration maps and depth profiles.
The analysis of all macronutrients NO3, NH4, K and PO4 is possible in a single run, within 120 sec. Additionally, the sensor can be expanded to further sample compounds in future, as e.g. to NO2 or Cl for pollutant analysis.
The sensor data is processed in a software system together with crop growth models and weather data to calculate the required amount of fertilizers. A mixing and dosing unit at the field coupled to any standard irrigation system will allow for automated fertilization.
- OPTIFERT Software
The required amounts of nutrients crops need vary during the growth season, as well as with soil characteristics and weather conditions. The OPTIFERT software will correct the concerning crop growth model with on-site weather data and the soil data collected by the OPTIFERT soil sensor. This way, the software will provide a fertigation recipe, covering the nutrient demands of the crop for the following growth period. This allows precise use of fertilizers, based on on-site measurements. The fertigation recipe can be delivered by the OPTIFERT Dosing Unit.