Landmark, a provider of chemical, livestock and rural services, has partnered with Australia’s leading crop health analytics startup FluroSat to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of agronomy services provided to farmers, growers and agronomists. The partnership has seen the integration of FluroSense with Landmark’s Echelon program and will augment decision making, allowing growers to consistently produce more grain.
With winter on the horizon, farmers will be faced with a season-defining decision: where to invest in nitrogen fertiliser to promote growth, and when and where to ‘cut your losses’ due to post head emergence frost damage. Traditionally, this has been done through raw farmer intuition and use of weather forecasts to predict factors like rainfall. The partnership between FluroSat and Landmark allows growers and agronomists to collect accurate, bespoke data gathered from satellite and drone sensors, and better use this data to inform these critical decisions.
Trials conducted over the last two years in a number of grain regions across Australia helped to measure and analyse nitrogen and other key crop nutrient deployment using multi-spectral imaging and the FluroSense analytics platform. These trials have helped to determine how much of an impact the fertiliser has on the crop’s growth, which will then be correlated to the responding yield, helping improve results over time.
Anastasia Volkova, CEO of FluroSat explained that the partnership would allow farmers to accurately measure which parts of their fields had insufficient, sufficient and surplus nitrogen.
“At its core, FluroSense helps farmers to begin to make better informed decisions by utilising data gathered with incredible accuracy. This allows farmers to make small savings per hectare, which can result in a massive difference at scale. For the first time, farmers can accurately measure the impact of different nitrogen levels across their crop. They’ll be able to then apply the right amount of fertiliser at the right place in order to get the best possible yields, and also not waste fertiliser where it won’t make a major difference.”
“We know that frost damage costs the Australian grains industry an estimated $400M per year, so it is front of mind as we come into winter. If farmers are hit with frost, they’ll be able to make the most of their damage by knowing exactly what to cut for hay or leave to harvest. While hay cutting is normally a way to minimise frost losses, the impact of drought on grazing land means farmers can still get quite good gross revenue from hay. We’re working together with Landmark to help ensure we make the most of every season, no matter what the climate brings.”
Senior Agronomist at Kerin Landmark Rural, Steve Richmond said that the technology is ready to deliver huge efficiencies for grain farmers across Australia.
“The job of an agronomist and of growers is complex when it comes to applying fertiliser. We’re constantly solving a puzzle that has three factors to consider: are we using enough nitrogen, are we putting it in the right place and are we doing it at the right time. With technology like FluroSense, which uses non-visible light waves to analyse a field, we can begin to piece together the puzzle sooner and start to use the data to inform where, when and how much fertiliser is needed to maximise profitability. Whilst we haven’t completed the season yet, we estimate a 10-20% increase in grain yields by utilising FluroSense to help us guide the decisions we make.”
Martin Clark, a local Jamestown grain grower and Landmark customer said: “Until now, if we saw frost damage in a paddock, we used our years of experience to know when to start cutting, and where to stop. With hay pricing $300 per tonne in 2018, getting this decision right can be critically important to having a successful season. Too much cutting reduces grain production, too little leaves you with low-quality and low-yielding grain, and both situations can leave a lot of potential money left on the table.”
“Utilising technology like FluroSense won’t replace a grower’s knowledge, but it will help build an even deeper knowledge of the land we work. With this, we can make better decisions faster, and take some of the uncertainty out of the big decisions we make this time of year. As an industry, we’ve faced some big hurdles from a challenging climate these past 12 months. Working with cutting-edge technology, we hope to make the most out of every hectare possible, and help combat environmental challenges with increased efficiency,” concluded Mr Clark.
Daniel Bell, Precision Agriculture Training Lead at Landmark said: “Being able to make quick and informed decisions based off in season imagery can sometimes be challenging at best. With imagery at the crux of FluroSat’s solutions, the team have developed a platform that allows for quick decision making of in season nitrogen fertiliser with the assistance of APSIM modelling. Not only do we think this will add value to our clients on farm, but we hope that the anomaly detection through in season imagery will help make our agronomists more efficient in the field and allow us to be proactive to problems that arise, rather than being reactive.”
“At Landmark we see the integration with FluroSat and Echelon as adding another layer to our toolbox of agronomy services. Our talented team are continually finding ways to help improve our digital offering and we see FluroSat as a key partner in this going forward.”