John Deere's manure (slurry) sensing system has now been recognised by the European Land and Soil Management Award jury as a "major breakthrough" in soil technology. The award is designed to highlight "outstanding land use and soil management practices" that help to protect soil.

As part of the technology, John Deere uses its HarvestLab 3000 sensor's near-infrared (NIR) system to measure nutrient values during slurry application.

The Land and Soil Management Special Recognition prize was awarded on April 9 during a Forum for Agriculture (FFA) event by the European Landowners' Organisation (ELO). The award is endorsed by the European Commission (DG Environment and Joint Research Centre) in association with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna.

According to John Deere, HarvestLab 3000 provides farmers and contractors with a new technology for "more sustainable management of the nutrient cycle and to improve the efficiency of using manure as a fertiliser".

The system is said to prevent over or under-fertilisation by constantly measuring nutrient values during slurry application.

John Deere's manure sensing system supposedly allows users to apply N, P and K more precisely, based on a nutrient target and/or maximum application rate in kg/ha. These ingredients and the total volume applied are automatically and accurately documented; the system is also able to utilise site-specific prescription maps.

Coveted prize

According to the company, the coveted prize recognises the "highly valuable work of farmers, universities and private companies by promoting the winning project as good practice across Europe".

"On behalf of the European Commission, I would like to congratulate John Deere for this remarkable technology and achievement,” said EC director general for Environment Daniel Calleja Crespo at the award ceremony. "It is exactly the kind of technology that the EU wishes to promote."