Yara, one of the principal sponsors of Crop Tec, has a smartphone app ImageIT that enables assessments of nitrogen uptake for oilseed crops to be made and easily stored for future reference.
Measurements taken now can later be used as part of the spring calculations to help fine-tune recommendations further, to optimise nitrogen applications. Traditionally, oilseed rape biomass and nitrogen uptake are measured by cutting and weighing samples in the field but this can be very time consuming and may not be accurate unless many samples are taken.
The app turns a farmer’s smartphone camera into a high-tech crop nutrient tester. ImageIT calculates nitrogen uptake based on leaf cover, leaf green color and estimated fraction of brown leaves. The technology behind the application is a comprehensive image analysis that classifies leaf pixels, filters noisy areas and counts leaf pixels. Despite being an advanced agricultural tool ImageIT is user-friendly and flexible in terms of technical requirements. The app is largely insensitive to camera type and works with low resolution images with a file size as small as 50 – 200 KB.
In poor signal areas ImageIT can store images offline to enable photo capture with no network access, and send the photographs for interpretation when the smartphone reaches a wifi or 3G zone.
Ideally to determine the nitrogen uptake and N recommendation the final measurement should be taken in spring just before the start of stem extension. But it is also a good idea to take measurements in the autumn as these give a better estimate of the autumn uptake of nitrogen and so helps make the estimate in the spring more accurate. This lets the app allow for nitrogen which was taken up in the autumn by leaves which later die back and release their nitrogen into the crop ag
The Yara ImageIT app is available for download in selected countries on IOS, Android and Windows Mobile.