A zonal approach to cost-effective VRA

In the past few months, growers across the globe are facing a universal challenge: the rising cost of fertilizer by up to 300%. An increase in fertilizer costs not only results in higher production costs but in addition to this, a growing pressure to reduce other operational expenses. 

As most fruit and nut trees are dependent on nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, it goes without saying that fertilizer is critical for successful crop production. In fact, fertilizer can make up to 50% of a grower’s production costs. 

Traditionally, fertilizer is applied per orchard rather than per tree, but the latest developments in soil and fertilizer VRA provides a solution to fertilize at a zonal or even per tree level of variance. As most orchards have varying soil types, this means that there is also variance in available plant nutrients. 

With a zonal-based soil analysis and variable-rate fertilizer application, the variance in plants’ available nutrients can be quantified and managed accordingly.

Advantages of precise VRA

  • More defined nutrient balance throughout the orchard
  • Potentially reduced fertilizer costs
  • Increased yield efficiency and orchard uniformity over time

Challenges faced

  • Compatibility between VRA maps and machinery 
  • Inaccurate data on variance may result in suboptimal VRA, leading to a decrease in yield quantity and quality
  • Irrigation systems not yet adapted to VRA – but with baseline fertigation, zonal fine-tuning can be done with VRA of soil amendments, as well as some fertilizer

Aerobotics growers can successfully use zonal-based field maps, based on accurate per tree measurements, to guide them to areas of variance. Zonal-based sampling provides growers with a practical 3 or 5-zone approach to conduct soil analyses, quantify the differences, and provide GPS-referenced zones to import into variable-rate machinery.

What you get as part of our VRA solution

  • Accurate identification of different areas of variance
  • Quantification of the driver behind variance with agronomic-significant risk reports
  • Digital reporting to verify risks on the ground, using the Aeroview InField mobile app (available for iOS and Android)  
  • Traceable interventions that can be improved on to achieve your desired outcomes 

We provide growers with a solution to work with all role players to optimize the value of VRA, save on production costs, and increase overall yield efficiency. 

Let’s work together towards knowing, improving, and securing your yield every season. Get in touch with our team today. 

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