Potato is an important agricultural crop in Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands and Germany with a total acreage of more than 5 200 km². In all these participating countries, percolation water contains NO3 concentrations higher than 25 mg/l so they share a common interest in reducing N-leaching and increasing water use efficiency by irrigation in potato fields. Potato irrigation is expected to be crucial to maintain stable yields in a foreseen future with more frequent climate extremes.
POTENTIAL aims to increase N and water use efficiency in potato using innovative precision farming solutions. Various data sources (satellite, drone, electromagnetic induction - EMI, tractor-mounted sensors…) reveal spatio-temporal variation in water and N deficit in potato fields. The combination of these different types of data for above-and below-ground crop and soil opens up new opportunities for a sound decision making.
The project envisages the translation of years of research of mapping the variability in crop vitality and soil condition into specific task maps for farmers to help them optimise their work. It will hopefully lead to the adoption of management practices with increased water and nutrient use efficiency in the potato cultivation in Europe.
The objective of the proposed POTENTIAL project was to increase N and water use efficiency in potato by co-scheduling of N and irrigation water. Special attention was paid to the spatio-temporal variation in water and N deficit in potato fields. To meet this objective innovative sensing solutions were used such as drones, satellites and geophysical soil scanners.
This possibility of using spectral indices to reveal variation in plant stress over the potato field was shown. However, a similar correlation was found between the same spectral indices and soil N, which is linked to the variation in N status, and thus N fertiliser need.
Electro magnetic induction (EMI) maps, collected with a soil scanner, provided detailed insights into the soil that a classical soil map is not able to deliver. Such information can drastically improve interpretations of above-surface crop performances in different zones that can be observed with drone and or satellite images and may result in improved management decisions. Furthermore EMI maps provide detailed insights into the soil that a classical soil map is not able to deliver. Such information can drastically improve interpretations of above-surface crop performances in different zones that can be observed with drone and or satellite images.
*At the time of the proposal. Please consider this data as an accurate estimate; it may vary during the project’s lifespan.
Total costs include in kind contribution by grant holders and can therefore be higher than the total requested funding.