Improved use of fertilisers
All crops need nutrients for their growth. Fertilisers are spread on the fields to assure that every plant has enough nutrients for its optimal growth for the best possible yield. The problem arises when there is an excess of nutrients, either from distributing too much fertiliser or from distributing it at a time when the plant cannot absorb it. The surplus of nutrients then risk to leak out into water bodies, e.g. the Baltic Sea. The HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan argues for nutrient levels in balance. By using methods for planning how much fertiliser is needed at a certain point of the crops life and at a certain part of the field the excess nutrients in the soil can be reduced to a minimum.
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Documents describing techniques for nutrient balances can be found within the patent litterature. This section presents documents relating to different techniques of how to distribute fertilizers in an optimal way.
US6027053 and US2003187560 A1 are both fairly recent documents, showing the use of GPS-technology for regulating the amount of manure to be distributed at different areas.
The document DE10002880 describes a monitoring system that enables examining the status of plants, and determining the action that should be taken on site as a response of a given status. The advanced monitoring system uses GPS and includes light emitters and detectors with integrated microprocessors to evaluate and store data.
The document US4934287 A shows a device that sprays manure directly to the zone around the roots of the plants. The technique may not be suitable for implementation on larger fields, but the waste of fertilizer is minimal.
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