Global manufacturer John Deere is collaborating with German company Volocopter to develop large drones for agricultural use.
The system uses sensors to automatically measure the nutrient values of effluent being applied to the paddock.
It enables farmers and contractors to improve the efficacy of effluents used to replace inorganic fertilisers. It calculates N, P and K values then regulates application rates based on nutrient targets or maximum application rates based on kg/ha.
The technology prevents under- or over-application and it can record total volumes applied for future reference. It is compatible with site-specific prescription maps.
The award to John Deere is endorsed by the European Union in association with the University of National Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna.
Meanwhile, the two Netherlands effluent gear manufacturers Schuitemaker and Veenhuis say they will merge later in 2019.
Schuitemaker is well known for its heavy-duty, self-loading silage wagons, manure spreaders and vacuum tankers, and Veenhuis specialises in slurry tankers and related equipment including a system to analyse the nutrient content of manures.
The companies say the merger will add value in marketing, sales, production and product support.
Schuitemaker, based in Rijssen, employs about 140 people while Veenhuis, at Raalte, has about 40 workers. Since November 2018, The regional investment company Wadinko is believed to have owned 36.25% of Schuitemaker since November 2018. It will remain involved after the merger.
Eventually all feeding machines will be painted red and yellow and will carry the Schuitemaker name. Manure and effluent machines will be coloured yellow and carry the Veenhuis brand.