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Source: Environment Canterbury Regional Council

“The soil itself can supply a good amount of mineralisable N and we just need to work out when the N in the soil will be available for the plant to use and we believe this will reduce our use of N fertiliser even further.”

One thing that has surprised Roscoe over the last two years during the N sensor trial is the amount of variability he has throughout his farm.

“There’s more variation in our relatively flat, uniform farm than I ever could have imagined and looking at the maps that come out of the N sensor there’s no consistency in paddocks that before using the sensor I would have thought of as very consistent.”

A new future for farming

Roscoe sees precision agriculture as critical in ensuring the future viability of farming in New Zealand.

“Precision ag makes your farm more efficient and there are some real social, environmental, and economic benefits that you don’t realise until you get into this.

“I never thought too much about future generations until I had kids of my own and you want them to have the opportunity to farm where you farm. That’s when you start looking around the place and thinking about how to make farming sustainable for the next generation.

“If I can leave this land in as good as or a better condition than I found it then I will be happy with what I have achieved.”