Published August 10, 2019 15:35
In the past two years Scott Bartlett's team has collected over 50,000 soil pH samples--without leaving the seat of their vehicles. Scott's company,
Agpro Consulting, deployed its first Veris U3 in 2017 and recently acquired a second unit to keep up with demand.
Agpro is based in southeastern Australia where the pH values in that area of Victoria and New South Wales can range from 4 to 8--within the same field. That combination of pH means fields need lime to raise the low pH areas and gypsum to deal with the sodic conditions of the higher pH soils.
Getting those applications reversed due to inaccurate pH maps can be extremely costly. As in many countries, conventional grid sampling has been done on a 2 hectare grid. Agpro collects 8 times as many samp les -- a .25 ha density. How has Agpro convinced growers that more samples are needed? "We have plenty of skeptical clients," says Scott. "After surveying, they realize the value and the quality of the information, and end up wanting their whole farms surveyed."
Does it pay? "We have numerous examples of clients saving up to 40-60% on lime applications, and have also had a number of clients where the Veris system has highlighted the fact that they have been under-liming, mainly due to poor soil testing. Through the use of EC, topography, yield maps and targeted soil testing we have clients save up to $80,000 of nitrate inputs through variable rate. We have also had clients save up to $20,000 in starter fertilizer applications using variable rate and data produced from the Veris system."
Scott and his team consult on over 100,000 acres currently, and with an advanced agronomic program including dense pH mapping, that number is growing.
Pictured below: Covering Australia’s ‘broadacre’ farms calls for mapping day and night.