With its fully autonomous, real-time variable-rate application capability, Augmenta's Field Analyzer (the AFA) has been revolutionizing the way farmers the world over apply in-season fertilizer to their fields. In a significant new development, it is now also able apply PGR (Plant Growth Regulator) inputs via a simple over-the-air software upgrade.
This makes the AFA the world's first multifunctional application device of its kind.
Both fertilizer and PGR operations are made possible because the AFA scans the field in front of the tractor on which it has been retrofitted. As the tractor is driven along, a powerful onboard computer creates its own vegetative index to analyze crop health and determine the amount of input required to maximize yield.
This is automatically applied by an actuated spreader or sprayer at the back. The whole operation is fully automatic, done in real-time, and only requires a single pass. Traditional PGR fixed rate 'blanket coverage' application methods mean that poor performing plants are eradicated by the retardants, whereas high performing plants do not get enough retardant to keep their biomass down.
However, because the AFA can automatically vary the amount of retardant based on actual plant need, greater uniformity throughout the field can be achieved. This optimizes yield and profits while minimalizing the amount retardant required, thereby reducing both financial and environmental costs. PGR operations are particularly important for cotton crops to suppress excessive vegetative growth and promote maturity. They are also vital in colder climes such as Russia and Ukraine to prevent wheat and canola damage caused by early snow cover.
The demand for a more efficient way of applying growth regulators was entirely obvious to us, said Kyle Daeley, Augmenta's Head of Business Development North America.
"It was a significant technical undertaking to develop the required algorithms and extensive R&D and commercial-scale testing. However, with cotton producers reporting savings up to 22%, our efforts were soon validated. There is no doubt that the new PGR service offers immediate ROI for cotton producers."
The AFA can already perform an impressive list of applications, namely in-season nitrogen fertilizer VRA (Variable Rate Application), foliar fertilizer VRA, and harvest-aid defoliant VRA. Now that the PGR VRA growth regulator application is available, the AFA has truly evolved into a device like no other.
Such is the power of the AFA that even more functionality will be made available to all those who already own one AFA. For instance, spot spraying of Glyphosate for pre-season weed elimination is currently under development and slated for release in 2021. Such services come as simple over-the-air upgrades, with no additional hardware required.
Augmenta is beginning to change the way inputs are applied to crops all around the world. The unbeatable combination of efficiency, ease-of-use, and user value is difficult to ignore. As the AFA continues to evolve, the attraction is bound to become simply irresistible.
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