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FarmFUSE: Fusion of multi-source and multi-sensor information on soil and crop for optimised crop production system - IF0208

Description
Global food production in the context of increasing human population and changing climate is one of the World’s greatest challenges. Europe has some of the most varied, flexible and productive soils in the world and is well placed to increase and optimise food and production of crop based fuel through sustainable intensification by implementation of precision agriculture (PA). For sustainable intensification of production, inputs must also be applied within recommended environmental constraints. Traditional crop production systems use uniform management units.1 With PA, advances in satellite positioning systems (GPS) and farm implement control allow the site-specific or within-field variable rate (VR) application of inputs (fertiliser, agrochemicals, water, seeds, etc). VR applications are expected to result in increasing profitability, while reducing environmental impact.2 Various commercial PA systems exist for: sensing and monitoring of soil-water-crop properties, measuring crop yield and variable control systems for tractors and implements. However, none of these systems rely on digital data about soil properties collected at fine scale, which is identified as within field variation in soil properties.

The aim of FarmFUSE is to fuse a set of data on soil and crop together with auxiliary data on topography, land use and weather to delineate management zones for site specific land and crop management including site specific fertilisation and spraying. This functionality will be integrated into a proposed soil and crop information system also known as farm management information system (FMIS), which enables end users (farmers & growers) to collect and collate crop and soil data from a wide range of sources in addition to recommendations on best crop management practices.

The proposed system solution will be based on the following two points:

(a) Utilising an innovative on-line visible and near infrared spectroscopy (vis-NIR) multi-sensor platform that collects geo-located soil measurements at an appropriate resolution for precision agriculture (PA) decision support.

(b) Integrating this improved soil data with other information such as vehicle-borne sensing of crop growth and development, weather data, soil conductivity and yield maps, to develop algorithms to determine rules for variable rate (VR) application. These can then be implemented from within the soil and crop information system or FMIS.
Objective
The general aim of FarmFUSE is to fuse a set of data on soil and crop together with auxiliary data on topography, land use and weather to delineate management zones for site specific land and crop management including site specific fertilisation and spraying. This functionality will be integrated into a proposed soil and crop information system also known as farm management information system (FMIS), which enables end users (farmers & growers) to collect and collate crop and soil data from a wide range of sources in addition to recommendations on best crop management practices. The following are the objectives of FarmFUSE:
1. To measure key soil properties with the on-line multi-sensor platform in selected fields.
2. To measure crop cover characteristics and crop stresses (including pest, and diseases) using relevant multi-sensor platform.
3. To develop data fusion algorithms to support the delineation of management zones.
4. To implement relevant advanced geostatistical methods to produce management zones and recommendation maps of VR N, P and K fertilisation and spraying.
5. To integrate different layers of data, and recommendation maps into a FMIS, accessible by the end users.
6. To implement the recommendation maps developed in the selected demonstration fields.
7. To carry out cost/benefit analysis to evaluate the profitability/loss of the system proposed.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2015

Cost: £174,098
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Cranfield University
Keywords
Agriculture              
Crops              
Farm Management              
Sustainable Production