Precision aerial spreading a reality

Precision-aerial-spreading-a-reality---223x223

New SpreadSmart technology in top dressing planes is set to resolve some of the challenges for farmers relying on aerial application, offering the ability to take precision up a gear."  

August 7, 2015

Precision aerial spreading a reality

Precision fixed wing aerial fertiliser application on hill country is now a reality. 

New SpreadSmart technology in top dressing planes is set to resolve some of the challenges for farmers relying on aerial application, offering the ability to take precision up a gear.

SpreadSmart is a variable rate application system which allows different amounts of fertiliser to be applied to different areas of the farm to boost productivity and protect waterways and sensitive areas.

The technology is one of the outcomes of farm nutrient co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrient’s $19.5 million, Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership programme with the Ministry for Primary Industries, which aims to improve nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiency and reduce losses to the environment through new products and services for farmers.

Ballance Science Strategy Manager Warwick Catto explains that fertiliser requirements of hill country vary with slope, aspect, stocking rates, soil type and species composition. To get the most out of any fertiliser application and maximise production, different land forms need different treatments. This precision application has not been previously available from a fixed wing aircraft.

“For the first time we now have the technology to apply more than one rate of a fertiliser to better match the fertiliser rate with potential productivity, such as flat areas for finishing versus steep slopes.”

Super Air Manager Richard Donnelly says that using digitised maps and GPS on board the aircraft, his pilots are able to change the application rate in less than a second according to the prescription map and pre-set recommendations.

“When the job is finished we can provide an accurate proof of placement map to the farmer.”

The technology also has safety spin-offs, with the automated system allowing the pilot to focus on just flying the plane.

Super Air has brought out two options to cater for varying farmer needs.  SpreadSmart utilises the precision of the technology to protect identified sensitive areas while applying a consistent application of fertiliser across the farm.

SpreadSmart MyRate takes this technology to the next level and varies the rate of application across the farm to match the unique characteristics of the farm as per the map identifying these areas. It can account for slopes, development areas and exclusion zones, helping to maximise fertiliser spend and farm production by putting the right amount of fertiliser on where it’s most needed.

“It’s an exciting development in an established industry that will offer farmers some real advantages with using fixed wing planes,” says Richard.

“It’s definitely the future of topdressing.”

SpreadSmart is available through the Super Air network, and farmers interested in finding out more about can call 0800 787 372.

Find a Nutrient Specialist

Use our smart lookup to search for your nearest Ballance Nutrient Specialist.


Enter your address

Ways to get in touch

Send a message

Or

Request a callback