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Kieran Walsh – Hand Free Hectare Blog Part 3 - Crop Monitoring and Combine Preparation

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It’s been a while since my last blog and the team has been busy! We have taken delivery of the HFH combine which is going to be a challenge to make it fully automated. However, the team are Harper are working very hard and I have full confidence in them.

HFH Combine

Since drilling, the crop has had its second application of Yara liquid Nitrogen and it's had a T1 fungicide plus a PGR and nutrition.  As the crop was drilled late disease levels have been fairly low. For this project it has worked rather well - maybe a little compromise in yield - but has allowed us to always be protecting the crop from disease.

Jonathan Grill has taken some NDVI images so we’re continuing to monitor the crop in many different ways, testing all the tools we have. We do have some variation in growth stages due to the low rainfall/soil moisture levels across April. This has mainly caused issues around weed pressure as we couldn't get our pre-em herbicide treatment on.

HFH Maps
I have also received plant samples from the robot scout, it has driven out over the field on set points and scooped up soil and plant samples. These are then brought back to mission control for us to examine.

For me this has been one of the most challenging parts of the project, as I get a feel of what crops are doing when I walk through a field. With our HFH crop I have studied the scout video footage very closely to determine the weed levels and disease on the crop.
We have also used live streaming from mission control which has been very useful. This has enabled me to asked the team to pick certain plants and check specific areas for disease levels and crop growth stages.

HFH Plants

HFH is a really exciting project to be part of and it is causing me to have to think “outside the box” in order to build the picture of how to give our crop the best agronomic advice.

For more information please take a look at the Website: http://www.handsfreehectare.com/ or follow the Hands Free hectare on Twitter and Facebook.