The Geoprospectors range of products supports the modern farmer in optimising soil cultivation in order to save operating materials while optimally conserving the resource soil and increasing yield at the same time. In order to achieve this, our measuring systems are installed on any towing vehicle and supply exact data about soil structures and soil horizons during each pass. This data is visualised, either subsequently or in real-time, and is then used to control the depth of soil cultivation devices, or for variable control of sowing machines.
In modern agriculture, precision farming is considered one of the most important factors for productivity during plant cultivation. In precision farming differences in soil as well as varying yield capacities within a field are taken into account during the cultivation process in order to use operating materials efficiently, conserve resources, and increase agricultural yields.
The use of geophysical measuring systems is one of the key factors in agriculture for understanding soil mechanics.
By using the Topsoil Mapper, the farmer himself can now, for the first time, record inhomogeneity in the soil for a large area and comprehensively map soil parameters, such as soil type, water saturation, and compaction using electromagnetic induction. These soil parameters can then be used in real time for variable machine control.
The Topsoil Mapper product set consists of the following components:
1. Topsoil Mapper (TSM)
There are various application possibilities:
- Contact-free analysis of soil structure
In BASIC mode, the system can be mounted on any towing vehicle to conduct autonomous measurements of the soil’s electrical conductivity without contacting the soil. Maps with the soil parameters for compaction, type of soil and water saturation can be determined from the measured data.
The farmer then has the option of integrating this data with other data for their farm management system and generating application maps from the results. As a rule, farmers use these maps in combination with the site-specific control of their agricultural equipment, as well as for planning of further agricultural operations.
- Variable control of agricultural machines in real time
As an alternative to asynchronous usage, the soil information can be used in PRO mode in combination with the appropriate agricultural equipment so that the latter can be controlled flexibly in real time. This allows two processes (acquisition and application) to be combined into one work step. The TSM is the only soil sensor on the market that can be used in this manner.
When using the TSM for cultivation, the soil parameters determined by the system will be integrated into the calculation of the ideal depth of cultivation in real time. The parameters will be transferred as control parameters to the appropriate machine, while simultaneously implementing data acquisition during the soil cultivation process.
Depending on the cultivation strategy (shallow cultivation, sub soiling or contour tracking), corresponding settings can also be modified on the terminal software so that additional information about the field will be taken into consideration.
- Sensor-supported seed control in real time
The application of sensor-supported real-time control, which can be realized with the TSM, also presents a huge potential for optimization in other areas, such as seed drilling. The TSM is the first ISOBUS-capable soil sensor that can be used to control sowing machines. With this system it is for the first time possible to adapt sowing to varying site conditions (soil type, soil moisture) in real time.
ISOBUS: Since 2017 the TSM version TSM ISOconnect is also available as the first ISOBUS-compatible soil sensor. The big advantage of this option is the much easier handling, since it is a plug and play solution and only one terminal is necessary.
Front weight integrated: Since 2016, we offer the option of integrating the TSM directly into the front weight. The mounting of front weight and TSM can be done in one step. In addition, the sensor is also better protected against environmental influences.
2. Topsoil Visualizer (TSV)
The role of the Topsoil Visualizer is to automatically process the recorded soil data and to calculate certain soil parameters such as compaction or water saturation. The information can then be passed directly to the implement, which automatically sets the tilling depth or controls the sowing quantity, allowing two steps to be performed simultaneously.
The new software release (TSV 2018) with revised functionalities and more intuitive applications was presented at the Agritechnica 2017.
4. Topsoil Data Analyzer (TSDA)
The Topsoil Data Analyzer is a desktop software that can be used, installed on the laptop, directly on the field. This means that the actual data collected can be transferred to the laptop immediately and be analyzed automatically. The raw data and the processed data are displayed as maps within a few seconds. Consequently, for example soil samples, can be taken immediately and directly based on the zone maps determined on site.
The benefits of the software at a glance: the data quality is immediately verifiable; work processes are significantly reduced; automated and consistent data analysis by ONE analyst (the TSDA software); independence in determining different soil parameters (relative water content, soil type and densities).
Functions: WHAT does the Topsoil Mapper (TSM) do?
BASIC: The Topsoil Mapper is capable of recording the depth of compaction, relative water content, and soil type automatically by using a motor during agricultural operations. In the Basic version, the user uploads the collected data via storage medium to the Data Box (cloud solution). Three maps are then produced using the parameters listed above. The data is managed centrally on the server and is available to the user at any time.
PRO: With the Pro version, the measured data is sent in real time to the terminal in the driver’s cabin. In this way, the driver can immediately see, for example, the depth of compaction zones. The information is provided directly to the soil tilling machine in the form of a rule-based control. Working depth is set automatically, such that interaction with the machine’s operator is not required. The advantages of this mode of operation are: an average saving of 6-7l/ha in fuel; a saving of working time of about 20%/ha; and a reduction in wear and tear due to optimised working depth.
Possible applications: Where/For what purposes can I use the sensor?
Topsoil Mapper can in principle be used independent of the weather in all agricultural soils.
Use is possible for each pass and with any implement.
For what purposes?
- Local differences in soil can be targeted for treatment with the control for varying sub-plots.
- The mapping of soil-specific water supplies allows targeted control of irrigation measures and optimisation of sprinkler system use.
- The thickness of the humid soil layer that is permeable by roots is determined in order to control soil improvement measures and fertiliser use in a targeted manner.
- Compatibility with agricultural information systems permits integrated planning of agricultural operations while taking into account all available operating data (e.g. soil data, yield key indicators, vegetation measurement data, etc.)
User: WHO can use the TSM?
Our main goal during development of the Topsoil Mapper (TSM) was to develop a user-friendly measurement system. By using the Topsoil Mapper, the user can reduce cost when managing agricultural areas, increase yields, and optimally supply the resource soil for tilling, fertilisation, and irrigation.
The measuring system’s features allow the user to carry out core activities without needing to negotiate a complicated measuring system with complex functionality. It is simple to install and can be used during operations mostly autonomously (i.e., it doesn’t require expert knowledge).
Data recording and analysis are autonomous, without the need of complicated and time-consuming settings by the user.
WHY the TSM rather than another product?
- Increase in average work speed during cultivation
- Savings in diesel and machine wear
- Continuous improvement of soil quality
- Autonomous recording and mapping of soil parameters: depth of compaction, relative water content, zoning by soil texture
- Performing processes (sowing, fertilising) specific to a partial area
- Fast and flexible installation on the front weight/front hydraulics
- Can be used for each pass and in any weather
- No contact with soil necessary
- Can be used with any hydraulic grubber (retrofitting kit)
- Results can be tracked, are transparent, and can be checked via soil samples
- Complex data evaluations and analyses are run in the background and do not cost extra time or money
- Exterior stability: The system is especially robust and stable, as well as impervious to environmental influences. Daily use is not a problem, nor are long idle times, for example.
Areas of application: HOW does the operating mode of the TSM contribute to optimum cultivation and economical use of the soil?
How well the available soil can fulfil its functions and which measures can be taken to increase functionality is of great importance to any farmer. For this purpose, measured data and soil parameters in a suitable spatial resolution and distribution are necessary as the basis for decisions about cultivation.
Data examples Topsoil Mapper
What exactly can be recorded with the Topsoil Mapper?
The TSM records mainly the depth (cm) of soil compaction and/or the depth of soil horizons, relative water content (%), as well as the texture (in soil classes). In addition, classic conductivity mapping (ECa or ECt, apparent or true conductivity) can be output at 4 cumulative depths.
What is the maximum depth at which the Topsoil Mapper (TSM) captures data?
The maximum recording depth while taking into account the device height of about 35 cm above ground is 1.1 m.
Are there limits to the speed?
Ex works we configure the systems for a recording speed of around 15 km/h – max. 30 km/h. However, higher speeds are possible.
Is there a recommended track spacing?
We recommend maximum track spacing of 18 m. It is, of course, possible to increase the track spacing, but this causes the resolution to worsen.
Is there an optimum distance to the soil?
We recommend a distance to the soil of up to 30 cm. If circumstances require a higher installation, a distance to the soil of up to 45 cm is possible.
How often is calibration necessary?
Calibration occurs during initial installation and is not necessary for each use. In order to ensure accuracy, however, we recommend annual calibration at the start of the season or after longer idle times.
How is the data presented/forwarded?
The data recorded is transmitted in various OGC (open GIS consortium)-compliant formats, such as *.shp, *.gtiff or ISOXML. Online data transfer from TSM to the implement is currently carried out as RS232 or CAN output. So far we have also supported the LH5000 and Bogballe protocols, based on customer requirements.
How has TSM been used so far? Automation?
We support two options for cultivation:
- Offline (Basic version): in one operation a soil tilling map is created, which is processed in a later operation (cultivation) via a terminal;
- Online (Pro version): soil data is recorded and analysed (latency time approximately 8 ms) ‘on the fly’ and is then delivered to the implement for control.
Both versions run automatically - in version 1 calculation is performed via a cloud solution, in version 2 via our job calculator, which is installed in the tractor.
How is it different from other conductivity measurement devices common on the market?
The physical measuring principle of the Topsoil Mapper is electric conductivity. The following differences exist compared to common systems:
- TSM is a multi-coil system: 1 transmitting coil Tx with 4 receiving coils Rx
- TSM records soil parameters without contact during any process (for example, installed in the front hydraulics)
- TSM is suitable for online operation - i.e., soil parameters are output immediately and can be used for machine control
Customer use in practical application?
The main benefit is that operating costs (fuel, wear) are saved because of the variable depth guidance. The analysed soil maps can be used as the basis for other application maps, such as sowing, fertilising, plant protection, etc.
What does the TSM cost?
We attempt to provide our customers with a tailored offer and are therefore looking forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will provide you with the list price upon request.