Earlier this summer, crop protection specialist Hutchinsons launched a new soil mapping service called TerraMap.

The family-run firm’s precision technology specialist Nick Strelczuk was on hand at the 2019 National Fruit Show to explain to growers how this high definition soil scanning system works and how the data collected can be fed through to cloud-based software Omnia to optimise inputs.

“Unlike other mapping systems, which use conductivity scanners to identify different in soil structure, TerraMap monitors and records four isotopes which are naturally emitted from the ground,” said Nick. “From this naturally emitted gamma radiation, we can create accurate soil texture maps, and can calculate all common nutrient properties, pH, organic matter and CEC, as well as elevation and plant available water.”

One of the real benefits of the system is the resolution and accuracy of the data. Working down every other row of the orchard, the TerraMap scanner is capable of recording over 800 data points per hectare to produce over 21 different field layers.

“This new technology allows growers to thoroughly understand sites and soils,” said Mike Hutchinson, horticultural director at Hutchinsons.

“Once the data is collected, it can be linked to the Omnia platform and will allow the grower to generate detailed maps of the farm. Our agronomists and their growers can make the most of precision technology, such as variable rate spreaders to apply very specific amounts of fertiliser in exactly the right place. It is about optimising your inputs and ensuring that the land is well balanced.”

If a grower has a machine which is capable of variable rate applications, but there is no GPS in place on the farm, the Omnia Connect iPad app can be connected to the machine to provide location-based data which can be monitored from the tractor cab.

“Our services through Omnia are delivered by the grower’s agronomist, so even if the grower is not tech-savvy, the maps and variable rate fertiliser spreading plans can still be generated,” said Nick.

“For growers who require less than 30-hectares mapping, we are also happy to combine visits with other farmers in the locality.”