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Evening Edition | Friday, September 2, 2022

In tonight's Evening Edition, read about new equipment for field work, the importance of soil pH, and how to determine field profitability.

New Technology in the Fields

U.S.- and Brazil-based ag robotics startup Solinftec has unveiled its new Solix Sprayer robot that can autonomously detect and spray weeds in the field. The new ‘bot joins the Solix Scouting robot that’s already in the fields in Brazil and the U.S.

Manufacturing, research and development company McKinney Corporation, which specializes in prototype jobs, will produce and manufacture the Solix Spray robot, which is slated to become commercially available in 2023.

Solinftec says its new offering can help farms reduce their chemical inputs and deliver a lower carbon footprint and environmental impact. 

Editor Courtney Love reports on the new self-propelled forage harvesters from John Deere.

Three harvesters will be added to the lineup: the 9500, 9600, and 9700.

Each wide-body model will feature John Deere’s X engine, 18L, which doesn’t need diesel exhaust fluid. The 9000 Series also has a new spout that reduces plugging when chopping high-moisture corn or forages.

Field Profitability

Yield monitors, and the massive amount of data they generate, have provided farmers with information on crop performance for decades, but a comprehensive analysis of the entire operation is needed to maximize profit, writes Editor Laurie Bedord.

While the yield maps created from that data offer insight on crop yield and characteristics such as moisture content, Terry Griffin says those maps are not enough.

“Rather than a yield map, farmers can convert that information to a profitability map, which gives site-specific information about which parts of a field are profitable,” says Griffin, a precision agriculture economist at Kansas State University.

Soil pH and Fertility

Soil pH maintenance allows crops to better use soil nutrients. The latest soil test summary from The Fertilizer Institute shows decreases in soil pH nationwide, likely because of high crop yields and modern production practices that place heavy demands on soils.

Soil chemistry can take two months to several years to neutralize soils, depending on the lime source, soil parent material, and soil texture/buffering capacity.

Proactively measuring and making small changes to soil pH support soil microbiology, nutrient availability, and plant growth, compared to making significant changes less often.

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