Nitrogen fertilizer often doubles crop yields; without it we could not feed the current world population. But nitrogen fertilizer is lost from crop fields in wet weather, especially corn fields. The plants become nitrogen-deficient, with light green leaves, and grain yields can be cut sharply. I estimate that more than 3 billion bushels of corn grain worth over $12 billion were lost to nitrogen deficiency over the past 10 years in the U.S. Plants that are nitrogen-deficient can easily be seen from the air, and we have patented a process for predicting yield loss and fertilizer need from aerial images. We translate aerial images into rate control files that go into the fertilizer applicator’s computer and put the right rate at each place in the field.
Presented By: Peter Scharf (University of Missouri)
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