Industry representative: Andy Richardson, Allium and Brassica Centre
HDC project cost: £433,922
Technological innovation offers growers new opportunities to increase productivity and profitability. This project will evaluate the current and future potential of precision farming techniques to improve soil and nutrient management in horticulture. Phase One will include:
• A soil structure survey to assess soil structural condition under horticulture cropping systems and to establish a baseline of current soil management practices.
• A review of available precision farming techniques and their potential application to horticulture.
The review will engage with industry, including the precision farming companies and machine manufacturers, growers, consultants and researchers to evaluate the potential for precision farming techniques such as controlled traffic farming, soil mapping, remote sensing of crop canopies, variable rate inputs and yield mapping, to increase crop marketable yield and profitability.
In Phase Two (years 2 & 3) the techniques with the greatest potential for uptake will be demonstrated and evaluated in field experiments on six commercial farms.
The project will draw on the expertise of a steering group of growers, researchers and independent consultants to inform the project and provide guidance on the selection of sites/techniques for field experimental work. A targeted knowledge transfer programme including six field trial open days and associated literature will facilitate rapid and widespread uptake of precision techniques within horticulture.
Aims and objectives:
The overall aim of this project is to evaluate the current and future potential of precision farming techniques to optimise soil and nutrient management for improved profitability and sustainable intensification of horticulture crop production systems.
Phase One: Field survey of soil structural condition in horticulture and review of precision farming techniques for improved soil and nutrient management (first 14 months)