As you might have read in our previous post, the aim of this Defra-funded ELMS Test and Trial project is to field-test three different soil scanners to understand if they can produce replicable and consistent results against a baseline of traditional methods of soil assessment.
Precision Decisions use an Electro-Magnetic Induction (EMI) scanner. Unlike the previous Veris U3 scanner, this makes no contact with the ground. Instead, the scanner works by sending out an electromagnetic field that is conducted through the soil.
Different properties in the soil affect the electromagnetic field and a receiver records the amended signal, building up a map of the variation in soil properties as it travels across the field.
The Precision Decisions soil scanner in action
The scanner unit is mounted on a wheeled buggy and pulled by a long drawbar behind the gator, as anything metallic could interfere with the scanning process. This includes the wheeled buggy the scanner is mounted on: aside from the scanner unit itself, the buggy is non-metallic and even the wheel bearings must be ceramic.
Raw data (see below), which looks like various shades of red, is processed after scanning and the final version that is sent to the farmer will show far more detail and information. The initial data can also be used to identify GPS points where soil sampling would be beneficial.
Raw data from the Precision Decisions scanner
Our thanks to Chris Mason from Precision Decisions for all his work on this project.
Next up is our final scanner, the Soil Optix from Hutchinsons. After that, the project team will review the results from all three scanners and provide a report back on our findings.