D-TEC develops Near Infra-Red on Manure Tank Trailer

Precision farming is becoming increasingly important for the agricultural sector. Minerals are getting more expensive and scarce and it is more and more important to apply them in a precise manner. D-TEC has developed the solution for this by fitting a manure tank trailer with a Near Infra-Red sensor. This sensor can measure the levels of nutrients  including nitrogen, phosphate and potassium in real time. 

Pilot test Near Infra-Red on D-TEC manure tank trailer
D-TEC has been working on making Near Infra-Red usable on manure tank trailers for more than one and a half year. Seven long-distance vehicles have now been fitted with a NIR test set-up. In the test set-up D-TEC uses different sensors, including sensors produced by John Deere. A calibration model will be developed in order to make this technology suitable for future use in agriculture. D-TEC constantly monitors  manure transports of the vehicles that are fitted with this sensor technology and analyses and processes this data in order to produce an effective calibration model. The NIR sensor technology combined with the calibration model allow the real time monitoring of the various nutrients in the manure. D-TEC is developing this model in cooperation with the Catholic University of Leuven (B).

Video Near Infrared Technology

The manure is measured by a Near Infra-Red (NIR) sensor in the sampling tube of the tank, enabling real time detection of the levels in the manure (nitrogen, phosphate). The composition of the various nutrients (including nitrogen, phosphate and potassium) in slurry can differ significantly, both between different animal species and within a single batch of slurry. A D-TEC manure tank trailer fitted with a NIR sensor offers end users the possibility to be able to anticipate on the composition of the manure in real time. Nutrients can be added until the correct proportions of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium have been achieved. This means that the user can apply the total manure requirement on a parcel in a single processing action. 

Pilot with the Dutch government
The Netherlands is a pioneer in the field of regulations governing manure transportation (2006) and sampling (1997). D-TEC is one of the suppliers of sampling systems and ADR units (Automatic Data Registration). The government expressed the desire to start a pilot with Near Infra-Red. It wishes to use this pilot to evaluate whether Near Infra-Red can be used for the registration of manure transports and sampling. Several Dutch manufacturers, including D-TEC, were approached in order to participate in this pilot.

Near Infra-Red will produce cost savings 
Many arable farmers spread animal slurry on their crops. This produces a significant financial benefit in relation to artificial fertiliser. After all, you have to pay for artificial fertiliser, while also animal manure can be obtained whereby you frequently even receive money for it. Analysing a batch of slurry in advance with a Near Infra-Red Sensor facilitates more accurate manuring. This produces a saving of between € 30 and € 60 per hectare for those arable farmers who already use slurry. The difference with manuring with artificial fertiliser is even greater, a saving of approximately € 140 per hectare.  

Presentation at Agritechnica
From 10 to 14 November D-TEC will present the new Near Infra-Red technology at the Agritechnica in Hannover. (Hall 22, Stand B07).

Below some pictures of the live-demonstration on 25th June 2015.