Claas unveils new optical plant sensor for fertilisation

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Leading farm machinery manufacturer Claas has lifted the lid on a new optical crop sensor the company says is capable of determining the optimal nitrogen requirement of the crop online and on a plot-specific basis.

Claas unveils new optical plant sensor for fertilisation
Claas' new ISARIA Crop Sensor is the only ISOBUS-compatible N sensor on the market.

The technology, called ISARIA, was developed by German precision farming specialist Fritzmeier Umwelttechnik.

According to Claas, special features of the system include its use of the map-overlay process and single-point calibration. Claas adds it is also the only sensor available on the market with an ISOBUS connection.

The system was recently trialled at leading German crop production field days, the DLG-Feldtage in  Bernburg-Strenzfeld, Germany.

Claas claims the ISARIA Crop Sensor automatically determines the nitrogen requirement of the plants as the tractor drives along, irrespective of the crop type and variety.

Online systems then measure, calculate and regulate in one operation and in real time. This means the optimum fertiliser quantity and its application rate are calculated almost simultaneously.

The system is essentially an optical sensor with two heads. These are fitted on the right and left of a carrier frame, which is mounted on the tractor's front linkage at a distance from the crop.

The use of active lights (LED) means the system can be used day or night.

The measuring frequency automatically adjusts to environmental conditions such as crop density, intensity of the ambient light and the nutrition level of the plants.

A measurement is taken of the light reflected by the crop under the sensor head. This is used to then calculate the IRMI vegetation index, which reflects the current nitrogen supply to the crop.

The ISARIA Crop Sensor measures the quantity of nitrogen which has already been absorbed by the crop up to that point in time, compares this measurement with the target value of the current EC stage and then calculates the missing nutrient difference which needs to be balanced out.

Claas says the ISARIA Crop Sensor can be used for any type of crop, at any time and regardless of the application method. If the sensor needs to be calibrated on site, Claas offers a new single-point calibration method alongside the two-point calibration method.

The ISARIA Crop Sensor’s map-overlay process comes into the picture when there is a risk of over- and under-fertilisation due to the fluctuation of the yield over a total area.

In addition to the actual and calculated supply, this process considers the yield potential, to ensure application of the optimum plot-specific spread rate in kg/ha or l/ha.

The Claas yield mapping data can be used to help determine the yield potential.

The Crop Sensor documents all fertilisation measures, which are listed in the field record in the form of an application map and can be used for further processing such as comparison with the yield map.

The system is operated via the CEBIS MOBILE or other ISOBUS-compatible control terminal.

Because the ISOBUS communication standard permits the use of only one control terminal for the crop sensor and implement, CLAAS has responded by reducing the number of control terminals in the cab.

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