Tri-partite project to commercialise variable fertiliser rates secures funding award
Experts from the fields of applied research, academia and farming have secured a £1.4 million funding award to commercialise innovative precision farming technology.
The team, comprising Dr Chantel Davies and Gavin Milson from Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd, Dr Abdul Mouazen and Dr Lorenzo Menichetti from Cranfield University, and Andrew Manfield from Manterra Ltd, will spend three years researching unique fertiliser placement technology that will revolutionize the way that farmers apply fertilizer to a range of field vegetables and combinable crops.
The Tru-Nject project combines engineering and sensor solutions with satellite image data and unique fertiliser placement technology and has been co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), with contributions from industry partners Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd and Manterra Ltd.
Tru-Nject uses a variety of tools including soil data, satellite data, RTK-GPS auto steering and revolutionary new proximal soil sensors to apply fertiliser below ground that create a resource efficient way to apply nutrients whilst reducing the levels of nitrous oxide gas released from nitrogen fertilisers.
STC’s Dr Chantel Davies is the project lead and said: “The funding award from Innovate UK will enable us to combine a range of novel engineering solutions in a very practical way. Cranfield University has a firmly-established reputation for high-level research in soil science and precision agriculture; Manterra Ltd possesses cutting-edge and highly innovative farming equipment. By bringing together these key elements we are able to conduct large-scale field trials across a range of soil types and demonstrate the efficacy of the system.”
Dr Mouazen is the inventor of a new on-line soil sensor based on visible and near infrared spectroscopy, which will be used in the Tru-Nject project to analyse a broad range of abiotic soil properties. This sensor was already used for optimising above ground N applications, with a cost benefit analysis showing a £50 per ha net margin to the farmer.
Andrew Manfield, from Manterra Ltd, is the applied farming research partner who supplies precision farm technology and agronomic expertise to the project. “This is a very exciting project. We have the potential to vary the nutrients on crops metre by metre and bed by bed, with an accuracy that is previously unheard of on a commercial level of practice.”
Philip Effingham of Greentech Consultancy Ltd is also a subcontractor providing agronomic advice on the field vegetables.
Last month, the Tru-Nject team was invited to address delegates at the Bishop Burton and Humber LEP hosted Agri-Food event that explored the skills needed for new technology.
Photo: Detailed information about a field on the Yorkshire Wolds is collected with the proximal sensor.
For more information or to arrange an interview with any of the parties involved, please contact Tracey Baty at three60 marketing on;
Direct line: 01430 871360
Mobile: 07971 961574
.Mainly upland but some mention of Horticulture
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Directors and staff at a leading technology transfer centre are looking forward to welcoming the Tomato Growers Association (TGA) next week.
The conference facilities at Selby based Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC) have been selected as the venue for the TGA Board and Technical Committee meetings on December 3rd and 4th.
TGA Chairman, Nigel Bartle is looking forward to the meetings: “STC is a great meeting venue with excellent facilities and now has the added attraction of a state of the art glasshouse to trial LED lights for long season crops like tomatoes.
We’re looking forward to having a very productive and stimulating couple of days.”
STC Ltd Board member Martin Evans said: “We’re delighted to welcome the TGA to Stockbridge and to showcase the new LED facility.”
Stockbridge Technology Centre is an independent, not for profit organisation that is wholly owned by the UK horticultural industry and is a centre of excellence in technology transfer to agriculture and horticulture.
The TGA represents British commercial tomato growers and exists to create a clear identity for high quality, home grown tomatoes and persuade people to look at the label to see where they are grown. The TGA also founded British Tomato Week that will take place next year between 18th and 24th May, 2015.
For more information or to arrange an interview with Martin Evans or Nigel Bartle, please contact Tracey Baty at three60 marketing on
Direct line: 01430 871360
Mobile: 07971 961574
Notes to editors