It’s full of IT technology here’ CU LTIVATION AND TECHNOLOGY gation is not possible. Fertilisers can often only do their work when sufficient soil moisture is available. Conversely, it’s also possible that, with very wet soil, there’s a higher risk of leaching. Especially when fertiliser is applied in separate doses, information about soil moisture can be useful, Raatjes knows from experience. The sensors of the YieldmasterPRO brand/type that measure the yield are two weighing cells mounted under the belt and/or bunker filler belt of the harvester. for example, that can make an ‘estimate’ of the tare percentage on the tubers. A calculation tool has been built in to determine where exactly the gross/net potato yield was measured. It processes data such as the travel speed of the harvester, the speed of the lifting belts, the distance from input to the weighing cells, the product weight and the GPS position into a yield at each measuring point of a plot. On sandy soil, this already gives you a relatively accurate yield map and on sandy and clay soils you get a relatively inaccurate one, especially in unfavourable harvesting conditions with a lot of tare. According to Anne van Driel, precision specialist at Agrometius, the dealer for the YieldmasterPRO, Precision Makers are currently working hard on instruments that can make yield measuring on potato harvesters more accurate. In a few years’ time, she believes that it should also be possible to measure a net-kilogram yield on potato harvesters on sandy and clay soils. Moisture measurement is not only useful for irrigation One of the companies that was also involved in the precision farming project at PotatoEurope is RMA from Emmen. Owner Peter Raatjes made soil moisture sensors available plus the necessary software and advice. Soil moisture sensors measure the moisture conditions in the soil and transmit the measurement data to a program. Weather information is also provided. So when there’s a risk of moisture shortage and the weather forecast predicts (sufficient) rain, artificial irrigation isn’t necessary. That’s how it works, Raatjes explains. In the trial field at PotatoEurope, on a few occasions, there was too little moisture on a parcel of land and it was then irrigated, as natural rain was not expected soon enough. In order to keep an eye on the moisture situation, you don’t necessarily have to go to your computer anymore. RMA has developed a handy app where you can see at a glance what the moisture level in the soil is. In the image, you’ll see a small gauge with coloured areas of blue through shades of green to orange and red. There’s also a block diagram with the soil moisture condition over a longer period of time. Some growers currently use the soil moisture sensors not only to determine when they should irrigate, but also to determine when it’s optimal to fertilise or spray or, for example, to apply slug pellets. Especially in regions where irriNew soil and weather sensor at AppsforAgri A company that also supplies software for soil moisture measurement is AppsforAgri from Tilburg. AppsforAgri has assembled the equipment under the name Smartfarm, for which a website has also been set up. Owner Corné Braber explains at the show that the soil moisture sensors have the name Soilmate. These are simple and easy to install instruments that work wirelessly and are maintenance-free. You get a 3-year guarantee and the battery will work for at least 5 years, Braber tells us, the website says that the battery will even work for 10 years. Furthermore, In order to keep an eye on the moisture situation, you don’t necessarily have to go to your computer anymore. RMA has developed a handy app where you can see at a glance what the moisture level in the soil is, Peter Raatjes shows us. 20 Potato World 2017 • number 4 Pagina 19

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