Finished Last updated: 24.09.2017
End: feb 2019
Start: mar 2015
The main goal of the project is to develop system(s) for site-specific fertilization and disease control accounting for combinations of crop stressing factors (nitrogen, diseases, water)
Work Packages

Work packages of the projects include the research tasks and the scientific methods used and develop within the project.
 

WP 1: Identify sensor combination for stress separation at times of split-fertilization

(WP-leader Audun Korsaeth, NIBIO)
  • Task 1.1. Review the newest technological advances on sensor types found important for stress detection in the MULTISENS-project and decide upon eventual equipment upgrading
  • Task 1.2. Perform field experiments designed for testing of sensor combinations
  • Task 1.3. Utilize the data obtained to identify the best sensor combination for stress separation
 

WP 2. Find the best sensor combination for early detection of fungal diseases

(WP-leader Andrea Ficke, NIBIO)
  • Task 2.1 Find sensor combinations suitable for detecting and distinguishing between different fungal infections of spring wheat plants at an early stage
  • Task 2.2. Establish early-stage disease damage thresholds for spring wheat yields
  • Task 2.3 Sensor combination for robust disease detection under varying conditions
 

WP 3. Develop algorithms for transforming sensor signals into suggested variable rates for fertilizer and fungicide application, and test them under conditions close to practice

(WP-leader Krzysztof Kusnierek, NIBIO)
  • Task 3.1. Identify essential information needed for building a decision support model (DSS)
  • Task 3.2. Perform field experiments designed to provide data for calibrating DSS
  • Task 3.3. Develop and evaluate DSS-models

 

WP 4. Communicate results to stakeholders and contribute actively to competence building among relevant industry actors

(WP-leader Einar Strand, NLR)

  • Task 4.1. Arrange annual seminar for farmers, farm advisors and other stakeholders
  • Task 4.2. Design and update a project web-page
  • Task 4.3. Communicate results to stakeholders

Start - end date 01.03.2015 - 28.02.2019
Project manager at Nibio Krzysztof Kusnierek
Partners Yara (including their two departments Yara Norway, and Yara’s Research Centre Hanninghof in Germany), Norwegian Agricultural Extension Service (NLR), Hohenheim University in Germany, Norgesfôr and DuPont Agri Norway.

Summary

The overall goal of the proposed project is to build a system for site-specific fertilization and fungal disease control in cereals, designed especially to handle combinations of co-occurring crop-stressing factors with the help of the knowledge platform established in the MULTISENS project (www.bioforsk.no/multisens) and the best and most relevant sensors.

The interface between technology and agriculture is currently sub-optimal, thus representing a bottleneck of innovations in agricultural production systems. This project addresses a week point of existing systems for site-specific N fertilization - the inability to distinguish between plant N demand and other stressors (e.g. water and diseases). Moreover, we also face the challenge of detecting fungal diseases in cereals at pre-symptomatic stage. The most critical R&D challenge faced in this project, is to transform a mosaic of information from a range of technical devices into agronomical meaningful decisions.

The proposed project will contribute to national competence building on the utilization of cutting-edge technology for agricultural purposes. The anticipated advances in N deficiency and disease sensing in cereals will take the research front a step forward. Moreover, the project is expected to contribute to the general goal of sustainable intensification, primarily by providing a system, which potentially may increase use efficiencies of N-fertilizers and fungicides, and which may detect diseases in their pre-symptomatic stages.

 

Knowledge frontiers

1. Include more co-occurring stress factors

  • At split-fertilization we estimate plant N content (N demand) but the information may be confounded by other factors, here: water status and disease infestation.
  • To improve N-fertilization systems we need knowledge on how to separate signaling from various stress factors when they co-occur.
 
2. Detect disease at an early stage
  • Early stage (pre-symptomatic) disease detection is needed to implement site-specific fungicide spreading in order to stop disease effectively.
  • We need to build knowledge on disease detection in wheat (but with reference to other species).
  • We focus on two infections: blotch and mildew. If we succeed in detection them, we will try to separate the signaling.
 
3. Transforming sensor signals into agronomic decisions
  • We convert sensor data into information (application maps or on-the-go signal) for the farmer to use.
  • We focus in a multiple stress setup – yield relation and relate this to N detection at split.
  • Change existing models or in other words: use historic data to build model accounting for secondary stressors (water at least)
  

Project update (1.03.2015 – 31.05.2015)

In the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2015, we have initiated tasks in all three scientific work packages (WP) of the project. Within WP1, the review of the newest technological advances in sensors for stress detection is ongoing. This has already led us to decide upon sensor system upgrade. We have begun acquisition of the hyperspectral snapshot camera, we have started updating our thermal camera system developed in the MULTISENS project, and we have begun engineering custom fluorescence measurement system. A substantial work has been done on designing a system for integrated data acquisition from multiple sensors, and on designing measurement protocols.

The first test of the plant sensors has been performed within the preliminary greenhouse experiment at Ås, aiming at early detection of fungal diseases (WP2). The experiment gave us important insight in challenges of using particular sensors in greenhouse and prepared us to a bigger experiment to be conducted in the 4th quarter of 2015.

We have established two field trials in Bioforsk Research Station, Apelsvoll. In one of the trials (WP1) we are testing effects of reduced spring fertilization, sheltering from rainfall, irrigation, and reduced plant protection. In the other field trial (WP3) we will investigate effects of variable mid-season fertilization and plant protection. Both field trials will feature intensive sensor measurement in the beginning of the 3rd quarter of 2015.

Project partners

This project is run by Nibio (Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research) in collaboration with Yara (including their two departments Yara Norway, and Yara’s Research Centre Hanninghof in Germany), Norwegian Agricultural Extension Service (NLR), Hohenheim University in Germany, Norgesfôr, and DuPont Agri Norway.

Yara is one of the largest, international fertilizer producers, having a marked share above 90% in Norway. The company has also large ambitions in terms of providing knowledge and technology aimed at increasing the N use efficiency of their fertilizers, well illustrated by their research center activities (e.g. inventing the N-sensor). Their contribution in this project is both financial and scientific, where the latter is mainly as a discussion partner related to WP1 and WP3, due to their thorough knowledge and experience related to the N-sensor technology.

NLR represents the main link between research and farmers in Norway, and their participation (leader of WP4) secure a good dissemination of the project results.

Hohenheim U., represented by prof. R. Gerhards, is a project partner in MULTISENS and will provide valuable knowledge and experience on greenhouse experiments with multiple stressors (relevant for WP 2), represents the nationally leading competence on agronomic research, particularly on the area of plant disease control and precision agriculture, and will provide both necessary agronomic know-how and well-suited facilities for field trials in the project.

Norgesfôr is an association of 15 companies producing feed concentrates, trading cereals, and selling fertilizers and pesticides to farmers.

DuPont is a part of the global company E.I. DuPont de Nemours Inc. and works on adaptation/development of pesticides for Norwegian agriculture, and is providing an advisory services for product distributors and farmers.

Both Norgesfôr and DuPont are generally interested in a sustainable intensification of Norwegian cereal production. They contribute financially to the project, and are represented in the advisory board, which also comprises other stakeholders, including farmers, cereal industry, national agricultural authorities and potential end-users2. The board is already established in order to assist in the development of this proposal, and will serve as an arena for discussing the further project development. The international cooperation in the project will be in form of information exchange and discussions with Hohenheim U. (prof. Gerhards) and Yara’s research team at Hanninghof.

The project manager is Dr. Krzysztof Kusnierek, who under close supervision of Dr. Audun Korsaeth will manage the project (organized as WP 0) in close collaboration with the project leadership group, consisting of all WP-leaders and two persons from Yara, representing the private funding partners.