SOYL to conduct UK's largest variable rate nitrogen trial


For those of you who have visited one of our Winter Workshops you will have heard about our launch of the largest ever variable rate nitrogen trial.

Here at SOYL we have recognised that an area of huge potential in precision farming is the ability to carry out on-farm trials. While it not only aids ongoing research, such trials give you, as the grower, the opportunity to test new methods or products on your land. There is also the benefit of increased confidence in any results as they will be relevant to your own farming situation.

Over the last five years, the team at SOYL have developed an on-farm automated trial system. This system not only allows yield comparisons to be made easily but also makes it possible to use past data such as satellite imagery, soil type maps and yield records to ensure there are no bias results.

Now, we are excited to commence our pioneering variable rate nitrogen trial to aid with future product and service innovation

The aim of the trial

The objective is to produce the largest ever variable rate nitrogen data set on fields across different geographical locations, soil types, climates, crops and varieties. The data collected will ensure that everything SOYL do as a company to develop the service pushes even further the yield and quality improvements that variable rate nitrogen already gives.

Who is it open to?

You can take part in the nitrogen trial if:

  • You grow winter wheat, winter barley or winter oilseed rape
  • You have yield mapping capabilities on your combine
  • You have a variable rate capable spreader or sprayer – whichever you use to apply nitrogen.

Most importantly, participants don't have to be an existing variable rate nitrogen customer!

How does it work?

Whilst underpinned by complex imagery processing and agronomic modelling, the variable rate nitrogen service is actually very simple to use.

All that is required are your chosen fields, your normal application rate in kg/ha, the type of fertiliser being used and the direction of your tramlines.

You can opt to self-serve through an easy-to-use website or call the SOYL office before each application to receive a draft trial plan. Once approved by yourself, this will then be made into an application plan that is compatible with any GPS kit you have on the tractor or sprayer. The operator then simply presses 'go' as normal and the trial plan will be executed automatically.

What happens at the end?

Once harvest is complete, all that is required is the yield backup for the fields which were used on the trial. We will conduct analysis of the data and provide you with a report on the yield results for variable rate versus flat rate. You can then use the results to support future on-farm decisions.

If you are interested in participating or would like further information on the trial, visit one of our Winter Workshops over the coming months or contact your local SOYL Area Manager.

You can read more about this project in the Farmers Guardian.

​Gavin Campbell
Applications Team Leader

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Saturday, 28 May 2022

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