Tillage and seeding implement manufacturers are giving farmers more working tool adjustment features. But how do you know what to adjust and which way to adjust it?
Simply guessing is counter to the intent of these adjustments, said Veris Technologies manager Tyler Lund in a phone interview. He says Veris has just introduced a new system to place all four of its proven sensors directly on tillage and seeding implements. With four sources of real-time soil information, the operator can better optimize all available machine adjustments.
“Manufacturers are giving growers more options to adjust implements to improve equipment operation and crop performance. Without high quality soil information these infield implement adjustments are underutilized and can be erroneous,” says Lund.
The iScan-plus harnesses an electrical conductivity array, red and infrared optical sensors, capacitance moisture sensor and thermopile sensor for soil temperature.
Lund explains that the four basic Veris sensors have been around for a while and producers who use them report that the information is valuable. Mounting all four sensors together on a cultivation or seeding implement enables machine operators to see and respond to changing field conditions, according to the Veris announcement.
“The iSense-plus is the world’s first real-time sensor suite that measures four critical soil features while planting or tilling,” says Lund.
It provides the operator with real-time insight into changing soil conditions, while building high-resolution soil maps for long-term precision ag zones. The news release announcement explains why iScan-plus logs data from four main sensors.
Moisture — Moisture affects seed germination, emergence, root-inhibiting compaction and overall seedbed quality. The iScan-plus gives the operator immediate feedback as moisture changes across the field. The iScan’s capacitance-sensing technology guarantees that planters and tillage tools have the information needed to optimize adjustments for changing moisture conditions.
Temperature — Even when a seed drops into ideal moisture, low soil temperature can damage the seedling in this crucial time. By mounting iScan-plus to the seedbed preparation tool, it allows informed planting decisions even before the planter hits the field. When attached to a planter, it measures temperature and moisture above and below the seed drop.
CEC — Physical structure of the soil must be considered when adjusting tillage and seeding tools. For example, wet clay soil compacts differently than wet silt soil. For that reason, Veris merged data from the moisture sensor module with soil cation exchange capacity (CEC) readings. This fused data feed helps avoid stunted plants caused by sidewall and seedbed compaction. Veris CEC readings are gathered by measuring the electrical conductivity (EC) of the soil. The electrical current travels two feet into the rooting zone, thus providing soil depth and water-holding capacity information with significant implications on management decisions.
Lund adds: “On our previous cart CEC units, the discs were mounted side-by-side, and that worked well. But the iScan-plus is intended for use on seeding equipment, so it had to be narrow enough to fit between rows. The discs are now front to back, but they do the same job.”
Organic Matter — Whether creating variable rate seeding prescriptions, guiding fertility sampling or improving nitrogen management, OM readings give growers the power to accurately manage each growing environment. The robust but small module that houses the infrared and red light sensors is designed to resist breakage and mud sticking to the optical window.
The announcement says real-time display and Bluetooth connection provides growers in-cab visualization. The data stream is adaptable to meet implement control needs. The output files are compatible with all farm software tools. With installation and small module components, this technology can be used on multiple implements. Additional flexibility is provided by the optional cart, which can pull the iScan independent of a field operation. It can also be configured to map mid-season in growing crops.
Depending on options, iScan-plus prices start at US$15,000 for an implement mount system. Prices go to $25,000 for the fully equipped optional cart with hydraulics.