Game-changing soil mapping service launched to UK

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Launched by Hutchinsons, TerraMap could revolutionise the way in which soil nutrient mapping is currently undertaken in the UK - setting a new standard for accuracy in precision agriculture.

Today’s precision farming requirements demand greater accuracy and currently UK growers do not have access to a high definition soil scanning system – until now, says Hutchinsons precision technology manager, Oliver Wood.

TerraMap uses gamma-ray detection technology that delivers resolutions of over 800 points/ha, providing high definition mapping of all common nutrient properties, pH, soil texture, organic matter and CEC as well as elevation and plant available water.

“With such a growing level of interest in soils, the launch of TerraMap comes at the perfect timing for farmers that are looking for that next level of accuracy in understanding their soils - which has not previously been possible.”

“We have been looking for a new method of mapping soils that provides more accurate and repeatable results, and can also leverage the multi-layer analysis within Omnia,” explains Mr Wood.

The infield process of collecting the data is carried out in 2 very simple steps; scanning by driving a light weight all terrain vehicle fitted with the sensor over a field, and then taking soil samples to allow for each scan to be used to create the individual map layers.

Manufactured by Canadian company SoilOptix, TerraMap’s scanning technology is based on a scaled-down version of airborne sensors that originates in mineral prospecting, and has been used in other countries successfully.

It measures naturally emitted isotopes, like Caesium and Potassium, that are very stable due to their long half-lives.

“The significance of this methodology is that it is not affected by soil moisture, compaction, crop cover or cultivation state.”

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The consistency and reliability of the results from TerraMap are proven, points out Mr Wood.

“We have taken satellite imagery of fields that showed up areas of soil differences quite clearly and when we overlaid this with the texture maps created by TerraMap they were identical. This has been confirmed by in-field ground truthing across a number of sites.”

“We have also tested the results between seasons and over different cultivations, and they have remained consistent.”

TerraMap is available from Hutchinsons in a standard or premium service offer. The standard service measures 9 criteria: P, K, Mg, pH and % of clay, sand, silt, texture and elevation. In addition to these, the premium service also measures calcium, manganese, boron, copper, molybdenum, iron, zinc, sulphur, OM, CEC and plant available water, delivering 21 layers of data for each field.

To find out more about TerraMap contact the Omnia Services Centre on 01526 831000 or visit the Hutchinsons stand at Cereals.

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Last edited on: 22:05:2019

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