SoilReader disc provides on-the-go soil testing through spectroscopy

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The Manitoba based SoilReader made quite the impression at Germany’s Agritechnica.

While Shaun Haney covered the many buildings of the bi-annual show, more than a few people encouraged Shaun to check out the new tech, calling it “revolutionary.”

Erik Eising patented the technology in 2016, and says the SoilReader is poised to become a real disruptor of the soil testing, soil mapping side of farming.

“The SoilReader product brings basically the laboratory into the field, right into the soil, in real-time, on-the-go style. We deliver the same results that you would normally get from a soil laboratory,” Eising says.

The disc, varying in diameter from 27″ and larger, collects about 6,000 data points per acre. The data is then delivered in an agronomic platform, and can be overlaid with yield data or historical field data to create better prescriptions, according to Eising.

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The SoilReader can be ran during seeding at seeding speeds, or can run off the combine for later-season soil measurements. The technology was trialed on a Saskatchewan farm this year at 5 mph.

It works by using near infrared spectroscopy — an established form of measurement in the lab setting, but Eising has figured out how to shrink down the spectrometer small enough to fit on the disc and get light into the soil profile. He says that the disc works best in undisturbed soil (so it’s a great fit for zero-till set ups).

The SoilReader currently can measure 15 soil constituents, including sand, silt, and clay amounts, electro conductivity, pH, organic matter, and more.

Eising says the unit will be available for purchase in 2020, and will continue its field-scale work at Terry Aberhart’s farm near Langenburg, Sask.

To find more of our Agritechnica 2019 coverage, click here.

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