Using GPS mapping, computer engineering and fixed wing aircraft, SpreadSmart - for the first time - allows you to topdress fertiliser exactly where it will do the most good, while keeping it off the parts of your farm where it is not wanted or needed.
These can be large areas, like wetlands and streams; or small areas, like highly fertile stock camps.
That means you get all the benefits of fixed wing topdressing - like economics efficiency and speed - with the accuracy and environmental protection of modern precision agriculture systems.
WHAT CAN IT DO?
SpreadSmart combines GPS guidance and tracking systems with computerised farm mapping to automate the trickiest part of aerial topdressing - opening and closing the fertiliser hopper at the right time, in the right place.
If you've ever watched a topdressing plane fly over your hills at 200km/hr, you've probably wondered how the pilots apply fertiliser as accurately as they do, using manual controls. It's not easy, but up until now there haven't been any alternatives.
SpreadSmart takes the job of opening and closing the hopper doors away from the pilot, and gives it to an on-board computer, which can perform the same task much faster, more precisely and more safely. It keeps fertiliser out of waterways, gullies, forestry blocks, tracks and other no-go zones, and drops it only where you want it, and where it will give you the best response. It also allows for different fertiliser products to be specifically targeted to different areas of the farm, improving overall production.
The computer can also adjust the rate at which fertiliser is applied to different parts of the farm, depending on the terrain and fertility. This is known as variable rate application.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
SpreadSmart's 'brain' is an electronic farm map of your property, which is uploaded to the aircraft at the start of the job. This map controls the on-board computer, and works with the aircraft's GPS guidance system to show the pilot where to fly.
It contains all the information necessary to optimise aerial application of fertiliser to your hill country: farm boundaries, areas that need to be protected and those that need to be topdressed.
WHO DRAWS THE MAP?
One of the great things about SpreadSmart is that it gives you the hands-on control of your own fertiliser application, so you know exactly what has been spread, and where. You can create the map yourself, or do so with help from your Ballance Agri-Nutrients rep.