Emily Payne - - Teralytic Updates

Case Study: Optimizing Teralytic Probe Placement

"Managing the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and moisture levels of your field are some of the most important aspects to growing a crop. Too much NPK, and you’re throwing money away; too little, and you’ll harm yields. Excessive irrigation or precipitation and the crop drowns; not enough and the crop dies of thirst," write Teralytic's VP of Soil Science, Meagan Hynes, PhD, and Agronomist Jason Steffen.

"Ensuring the crop gets the right amount of nutrients and water requires constant monitoring of your soils to address the crop’s needs."

While there are multiple ways to monitor the NPK and moisture levels in a field, one of the most reliable is using our wireless in-ground probes. The probes are placed throughout the fields and left for the entire growing season, monitoring the nutrient and moisture levels at multiple depths. They connect to a gateway through LoRa wireless technology, which sends data to the cloud via either cellular, satellite, or a standard internet connection.

But soil is inherently variable, so the biggest challenge to using soil probes is getting them installed at the right place in the field, where they will give you the most useful information. Are you going to monitor the most common areas in the field and manage the entire field based on those areas, or are you going to look at the extremes and try to variably apply the nutrients and water to maximize production in all areas? Your answer will drive how many probes you need, and where you should place them.

In this case study, Meagan and Jason looked at various data sets to determine the best probe placement for Teralytic's pilot with Trimble® in Montana.

In addition to aerial imagery, they examined at data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil surveys as well as elevation, slope, aspect, and soil test maps. They also incorporated site-specific information from Trimble's Soil Information System and Crop Health Imagery as decision-making tools.

With this, Meagan and Jason were able to find where the field composition changed and determine the best locations for in-ground soil sensors. After an easy install using our custom-made soil auger, the Teralytic probes were placed.

Now the manual work is done, and we can sit back as the probes send real-time soil health data to our dashboard.


Teralytic-Montana-pilot-3

Stay tuned for more case studies as more Teralytic probes are placed in the ground, from Montana, to Australia, to South Africa.