Wireless real-time NPK readings from your field

Automated warning system provides alerts in emergency situations

Affordable in-field instruments like the PXRF and Teralytic probe may push conventional soil lab technology into the background because they offer immediate results that allow a farmer to fine tune his fertility program in real-time rather than calendar time or “last fall time.”    The LPWAN transmission technology sends data a greater distance with lower power requirement than conventional cellular systems.  |  Semtech/Teralytic photo

Real-time 24/7 NPK data from the field can help fine-tune your fertility program. Wireless soil sensors relay critical information you can use to reduce waste and boost yields.

The Teralytic probe is a metre-long, battery-powered device a farmer shoves into the earth. The shaft contains 26 sensors that measure localized subterranean moisture, salinity, nitrate, potassium, phosphorous, temperature, pH and respiration at depths of six inches, 18 inches and 36 inches.

The transmitter sends a report every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week so operators can spot issues as they crop up.

The automated warning system provides alerts in emergency situations, such as inadequate moisture.

Teralytic also provides above-ground readings on light intensity, temperature and humidity, according to a joint release from Teralytic and Semtech, the two New York electronics companies that developed the multi-tasking device.

Popping its head above the surface like a submarine periscope, the Teralytic probe sends reports every 15 minutes 24/7 from 26 sensors in the soil below the field surface. | Semtech photo 

Teralytic developed the soil-sensing components and Semtech developed the low power wide area network (LPWAN) communications components.

LPWAN is designed to allow low-cost, long-range communications at a low bit rate among connected things such as sensors. LP distinguishes this network from wireless WAN, which carries more data but requires more power. LP data runs from 0.3 to 50 kilobits per second per channel. It allows farmers to deploy field sensors without investing in expensive gateway technology. The sensors report to a web application accessed through a smartphone.

The system provides greater coverage than existing cellular networks and can plug into existing infrastructure.

Teralytic founder and chief executive officer Steve Ridder says farmers need real-time visibility into soil conditions to realize the best return on their investment.

“Lack of soil data during growing season lowers yields and profits, as well as harms the environment. Farmers want a solution that allows them to maximize their profits,” he said.

“Manual soil tests fail to provide the data growers need during growing season, causing farmers to either over fertilize or under fertilize, harming profits and-or the environment.

The soil probe’s software delivers real-time information about the field to both computer and mobile platforms. | Semtech photo 

Between 70 and 80 percent of agricultural greenhouse-gas emissions, such as nitrous oxide, come from the production and use of nitrogen fertilizers.”

Teralytic and Semtech launched their revolutionary probe at the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in San Francisco in March. The system has potential to eliminate the time, cost and waiting associated with conventional soil testing.

The system is expected to be available later in 2018 at a cost of less than US$200 per probe. There’s an annual subscription fee for data analysis and agronomic recommendations. When a farmer signs up for the service, he receives a free planning tool to help determine the number of probes he needs.

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