This is an essential part of profitable farm management for all field crops. Based on the soil fertility problems identified in the soil test, we recommend a soil health correction program and a crop specific fertilizer program, meaning farmers are always investing wisely by applying the right inputs, at the right quantity, to increase yields and profitability
1. ROUTINE SOIL ANALYSIS
We are specialists in soil fertility management and developing fertilizer programs for farmers.
We carry out fast and affordable soil analysis in our laboratory, and we use the results to make the right recommendations for your farm. We are independent and don’t sell any farm input products and we only offer you the best advice.
Soil testing is essential for building a sustainable soil fertility and fertilizer management program for your farm, to increase your crop yields and reduce your input costs.
2. NITROGEN FERTILIZER RECOMMENDATIONS
Our lab analysis determines the amount of available nitrogen in your soils and we give you calculated nitrogen fertilizer recommendation based on the results.
3. SOIL HEALTHCARE PROGRAM
Our Soil Health Care Program is a complete service package for growers who want to sustain farms profits, through building and maintaining high levels of soil fertility in each of their fields.
The service includes:
On farm per field sampling by our technician before each crop
Full Soil Health Audit and Soil Fertility Analysis in our Laboratory
Detailed lab report including full Soil Fertility Correction and Fertilizer Recommendations
Farm visit every 6 months by our Soil Health Advisors to monitor the program and advise on additional soil health practices such as crop rotations and green manure crops
4. SOIL LIFE TEST
Soil and plants interact in the search for and supply of nutrients. Soil provides the environment for plant growth while plants participate in building and sustaining soils by releasing exudates and leaving behind their own residues. This dynamic cycle is best described as the soil-plant system. In the process, humus is formed and carbon dioxide (CO2) is released due to microbial activity. The relationship between these processes is an important indicator of soil fertility. Declining rates of CO2 respiration are associated with intensive tilling, compaction and over fertilizing. These soil practices are potentially destructive and inhibit the soil’s ability to sustain its humus content, the natural reservoir of organic nutrients and soil life. As soil declines, microbes starve for food and the rate of CO2 respiration decreases, indicating deteriorated soil quality. Being able to evaluate the turnover of organic matter via CO2 respiration is important for a number of reasons:
• Indicator of soil health – The rates of CO2 release is generally regarded as an indicator of Soil Health and is favorably improved with practices such as cover cropping, where the quality of soil is improved by building the organic matter through accumulation and decay of roots and plant litter.
• Indicator of soil nutrients – Measure and evaluate the rate of carbon exchange, to estimate potential release of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that are components of humus.
Precision farming, or site specific crop management, is a farming system based on measuring and managing ‘within field variability’. Our experienced team of precision farming experts can create field maps of soil nutrients, soil type, yield and crop health using satellite imagery, allowing farmers to manage their inputs and fields more efficiently. All maps and data is easily viewed and shared within our web based portal.
Our Precision Farming services include:
1. ELECTROMAGNETIC (EM) 38 SOIL TYPE MAPPING
The EM38 is an electromagnetic induction meter which measures and maps soil electrical conductivity requiring no instrument to soil contact. This is used to identify soil variability allowing the subdivision of fields into management zones based on the different soil types. The soil properties of the zones can be used to differentiate the application rates of seeds, fertilizers, irrigation water, optimizing input use and maximizing yields. The EM38 survey is a one off investment, soil types will remain constant in time.
How is an EM 38 Survey Carried Out?
EM surveying is carried out by towing the EM38 on a sled across the soil surface using a light-weight ATV, usually at a swath width of between 25m – 50m,. The EM38 readings are geo-referenced and logged at a rate of 1 per second. Our EM38 survey can provide comprehensive data on soil type characteristics at a rate of 400 ha per day.
EM surveying is carried out by towing the EM38 on a sled across the soil surface using a light-weight ATV
What You Get From It
The EM38 survey will give you detailed maps of soil variability of topsoil, subsoil or both depending on the project. These maps will then be used to select targeted soil samples locations which our team will collect, analyze in our ISO 17025 accredited laboratory, and which will enable us to identify important soil fertility and water-holding properties. EM38 maps can be overlaid onto yield maps and used to sub-divide fields in different management zones and used to develop VR prescription maps for irrigation, fertilizer, lime spreading or seeding.
The example maps shown here demonstrate how the yield (top right) in this 100 ha pivot cultivated with rice is closely related to the soil conductivity recorded using our EM38 (top left). High soil conductivity and high yields are represented in blue, while low soil conductivity and low yields are in red. The bottom left map shows the available water holding capacity across the pivot, and bottom right the calculated management zones based overlaying yield and soil type.
2. SOIL ZONING
Field borders are traditionally delimited by physical boundaries (rivers, roads, etc) and each field is managed as a single units. This farming method is inefficient since it ignores infield spatial variability. Soil type can change in a matter of meters – differences in soil texture, depth, stone content and organic matter all have implications on the way a crop performs. The main cause of repeatable crop variation within a field is SOIL TYPE.
SOIL BRIGHTNESS mapping is the revolutionary, low cost, high accuracy service for creating soil management zones. Using 5 meter resolution satellite imagery we measure the light reflecting from the soil. Variation in soil brightness indicates changes in soil type. This rapid soil zoning service allows us to identify in-field soil variation enabling us to manage each different zone based on a site specific management recipe that considers the exact needs of each area.
3. SOIL ANALYSIS
Soil analysis is at the heart of good soil management. Without knowing the medium and short term fertility levels of your soils it is impossible to make accurate decisions on inputs. Soil sampling is done per zone. All sampling is carried out on foot using a handheld GPS unit to ensure that the samples are taken accurately within each zone. Topsoil samples (20 cm) are collected across each zone to ensure representative results.
Soil samples are sent to our ISO 17025 Accredited Laboratory in Nairobi for analysis. The following soil analysis are included within our precision farming package:
1) Complete Soil Analysis:
Using conventional wet chemistry methods we determine the medium to long term fertility of each zone and include the following parameters:
pH, EC (salts), Organic Matter %, Total Nitrogen %, Phosphorous (P), Potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg), Calcium (Ca), Sodium (Na), Sulphur (S), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu), Boron (B), Zinc (Zn), Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), Base saturation % Ca, Mg, K, Na
2) Bio-available soil nutrients:
Using a mild extracting solution that is know to correlate well with plant availability we also test the soils for short term bio-available fertility including phosphorous (P), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), nitrate (NO3) and ammonium (NH4).
Our fertility programs are directed to improve the chemical, biological and physical balance of the soils. By balancing soils with calcium, we improve soil aeration, structure and biology – this biology, which can be complimented with targeted biological products kick starts our crop nutrition program, enhancing the nutrient efficiency of applied fertilizers and foliar feeds.
The soil analysis data will be uploaded onto the CPF Toolbox and we generate fertility and nutrient management plans including:
• lime for correcting acidity
• gypsum for balancing Ca;Mg ratio and managing sodium
• granulated sulphur for managing calcareous soils
• Phosphorus for balancing/building P levels
• Potassium for balancing/building P levels
• Selection of well balanced compound/blend basal fertilizer based on crop nutrient requirements
• Micronutrient program
• Topdress nitrogen, sulphur and potassium as necessary
• Biological program
• Foliar feeding program
4. CROP WATCH
Cropwatch is the continuous satellite imagery crop monitoring solution. For 12 months of the year we will scan your farm using satellite imagery and we will be uploading imagery directly into the CPF Toolbox, as well as emailed directly to your Smartphone or tablet, for opening in Google Earth. Cropwatch is the first and only variable nitrogen service to combine soil type and satellite images for a truly accurate result.
Satellite imagery is processed as ground cover or Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI): 30m resolution images pan sharpened down 15m resolution showing vigour of crop (crop leaf area & greenness). Nitrogen application maps can be processed by the click of a button using the satellite imagery in the CPF toolbox. We will be using this imagery to create unlimitedvariable nitrogen application plans: save fertiliser and grow more even crops.
Imagery can also be used as a crop health-checker and has been used to monitor pest damage, crop establishment, weed emergence and areas of poor nutrient availability. Through the use of imagery, we can identify any problems within the crops from when and where they originate, giving you the time to limit and prevent further damages.
5. CPF SOFTWARE TOOLBOX
The CPF toolbox is our web based precision farming software. The CPF toolbox integrates all precision farming data (yield maps, satellite imagery, soil zones, soil analysis results, etc) allowing a single point interaction for all of the farmers requirements. The system has been developed alongside leading farmers, advisors and agri-businesses making it a revolutionary tool allowing farmers and agronomist to achieve all their precision farming goals. It allows for unlimited number of users (agronomists, directors, etc) to access, share and discuss the information online, from anywhere in the world.
The web based farm management software allowing access to multiple users. It enables:
Nutrient Management Plan per crop per zone
Lime and Fertilizer recommendations
Customizable rule sets
Crop health monitoring
Satellite imagery and yield data can also be viewed on the Toolbox; ensuring you get the most from your precision farming data. GPS files produced on the Toolbox are compatible with all major machinery manufacturers and can be adjusted on the move.
Maps can be downloaded in Google Earth format and uploaded onto tablets or phones giving the great advantage to access the maps on the field and target field visits based on problem zones.
We will be constantly giving you back up on the use of the CPF Toolbox through our dedicated support network, offering the necessary training and advice to help deliver success on your farm. By viewing the same data and maps online, we can deliver better agronomy support and recommendations to our clients.
6. VARIABLE RATE
Zoning of the soil allows us to place boundaries within fields based on where the variability exists. Sampling within the zones allows us to characterize the soils in each zone, which ultimately allows us to create recommendations per zone, or in other words, variable application rates.
The proven relationship between soil type and nutrient availability is at the heart of the precision farming system. Fertilizer has become one of the biggest costs in farming so improvement in efficiency can yield huge savings while improving the quality of the crop by targeting nutrient deficiencies.
Variable rate allows you to apply any grade of solid or liquid fertilizer variably according to the nutrient status of the soil in each zone: Cost reduction; improved efficiency; Reduced Variability. We will create the variable rate plans and you will be able to access and download them immediately using the CPF Toolbox.
7. YIELD MAPS
We will upload and process all current and past yield data into the CPF Toolbox to allow you to get much more information from your yield data by overlaying the maps onto the management zones. Viewing yield maps over your soil zones improves decision making and enables you to evaluate the impact of all variable rate applications.
By analyzing, sharing and discussing the yield maps together with our clients, we can recommend where soil samples can be taken to find out why certain areas are under-producing, and why other areas are producing top yields.
8. PRECISION IRRIGATION (AQUACHECK)
In irrigated farming, over irrigation and under irrigation both have negative effects to yield. A good balance of soil oxygenation and water application are the key to healthy, high yielding crops.
Irrigation scheduling using our Aquacheck system is a proven irrigation management tool which allows farmers to monitor exactly how much water to apply and where to irrigate improving water use and reducing leaching of nutrients. Soil zoning allows us to determine the exact number of probes required per field which will enable the farmer to apply water variably based on soil types.
See our Presentation
Leaf Analysis is a valuable crop management tool to identify any nutrient deficiencies in the crop at critical growing periods. Corrective measures are recommended to balance the crop nutrients, including which fertilizers or foliar feeds to apply to improve yield and quality.
Leaf analysis in combination with soil testing brings out a clear picture of your crop’s whole nutrition system.
The laboratory results for each nutrient are compared against well known optimum guide levels for each crop type providing a quick diagnosis on what could be limiting your yields and the corrective recommendations.
Aquacheck is a soil moisture probe that is installed in the ground down to 60cm. The probe has 6 sensors distributed every 10cm from the surface to a depth of 60cm. One reading per sensor is logged every half an hour and the data is stored and then uploaded onto an online server every two hours where it can be visualized from any computer and tablet using an online software, www.aquacheckweb.com. The continuous monitoring and recording of the moisture is the same as having eyes under the ground and allows the user to irrigate only when the water is needed. Furthermore, the probe allows the user to know how deep the irrigation has penetrated.
A lot of the current irrigation practices in Africa result in over irrigation (too much water) which is a waste of precious resource, but also has a negative effect on crop production as excess water does not allow oxygen to be sucked into the soil. With no oxygen, the roots of the crops are not able to respire and so they do not develop properly, leading to weaker, less resilient crops which are more prone to disease and which are not producing optimally. Furthermore, irrigating above the field capacity of the soil (the soil’s full point) means that water is free flowing straight through the profile, carrying with it all the nutrients dissolved which are therefore lost in leaching and end up contaminating water sources.
Aquacheck allows managing your irrigation water precisely and with confidence. Utilizing the probe effectively will bring about the following advantages:
Reduced leaching of nutrients;
Reduced contamination of water sources
Reduced usage of water;
Reduction of water pumping costs;
Reduced fertilizer use;
Improved crop health
See our presentation
SOIL CLASSIFICATION & CROP SUITABILITY SURVEY
SOIL CLASSIFICATION & CROP SUITABILITY SURVEY
Planning your land use properly is an essential part of the success of your farm and can prevent making costly mistakes. Soils may vary considerably within a field and each variation has different land use potentials. Reading the soils in your fields is key for knowing what they can sustain, whether it is a field of maize or a house.
Our expert team of soil scientists will assess your fields and produce a map delineating the different soil types in your field. Our expertise and technology will allow us to take targeted soil samples, hence reducing the total number of soil samples that would otherwise be required when doing grid sampling.
We will then select strategic spots to dig soil pits in the area.
We will then send soil samples to our labs which will enable us to characterize all your soil types in terms of chemical, physical and biological characteristics. Each soil type will come with its profile description and with expert advice on their limitations and the crops it can sustain.
Get a quote and find out more by contacting our specialists.
Plant Pathogen Screening identifies the most common fungal and bacterial pathogens that attack plant roots and leaves. From the results we provide recommendations on how to control the disease, avoiding further crop losses.
We carry out plant disease diagnostics for commercial growers and small holder farmers. Rapid and accurate diagnosis of disease is always necessary before proper control measures can be suggested. Practical and experienced recommendations are given with each report.
These services include investigations of plants, leaves, roots, soils, water and substrates for routine crop disease diagnosis, including common fungi and bacteria, such as leaf spots, root rot diseases, cankers and wilt diseases.
Our services give you the information you need to make the right decisions, ensuring you apply the correct product, quickly and effectively. Our services save you money.
Nematodes are microscopic worms that cause major yield losses in many crops by attacking the roots, and in some cases the leaves. From soil and root samples, we carry out nematode identification and counts of the most economically important nematodes, and then provide suitable control recommendations to reduce and manage these crop pests.
Nematodes Analysis helps in identifying the nematodes that cause damage to many crops such as yield loss, stunting, yellowing, wilting, nutrient deficient symptoms and malformations of the root.
We process the analysis results to provide you with reports and the appropriate recommendations.
PLANT DISEASE DIAGNOSIS
PLANT DISEASE DIAGNOSIS
We offer routine investigations on plant leaves, stems and roots to quickly detect any viral and bacterial diseases affecting your crops.
Our recommendations will help you to effectively eliminate diseases such as leaf spots, root rot disease, cankers & bacterial wilt before they can do any real damage to your crops.
ANIMAL FEED ANALYSIS
ANIMAL FEED ANALYSIS
Animal Feed quality is essential for productive healthy livestock. Using a combination of NIR (infrared) an wet chemistry techniques we can carry out both proximate analysis (protein, energy etc) and mineral content of animal feeds and ingredients, to help livestock farmers and suppliers to better formulate and manage feed quality.
We’ll help you check your animal feed quality and give proper recommendations on what additional additives you need to balance your animal feed.
FERTILIZER QUALITY ANALYSIS
FERTILIZER QUALITY ANALYSIS
This brings piece of mind to farmers. We can determine the precise amount of each nutrient in the fertilizer sample, indicating whether the fertilizer quality is acceptable or not.
We offer fertilizer testing services for all the main fertilizers and foliar solutions, which includes determining the concentration of all expected nutrients, and also heavy metals if required.
LIMESTONE QUALITY ANALYSIS
LIMESTONE QUALITY ANALYSIS
Limestone powder for correcting soil acidity varies widely in its quality. By analyzing lime for calcium and magnesium content, acid neutralizing value and fineness, we can tell farmers whether the lime is suitable for use or not.
Based on soil test data, we’ll offer you accurate recommendations on the rate of lime to apply per acre and also the type of lime suitable for your shamba.
It is worth knowing the type of lime to use on your shamba as the 2 kinds of lime available (Dolomitic and Calcitic lime) got different levels of calcium and other minerals.
EFFLUENT WATER TESTING
EFFLUENT WATER TESTING
This is a requirement for many industries and farms to conform with the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA). We are an approved NEMA laboratory and analyze for a wide range of chemical, physical and biological parameters in effluent water, and will report each result against NEMA guide levels, to show which parameters are high.
We are a designated NEMA testing laboratory providing our clients with fast, accurate and easy to read laboratory results. We have rigid Quality Control procedures in place and have been audited and accredited by NEMA.
PESTICIDE RESIDUE ANALYSIS
PESTICIDE RESIDUE ANALYSIS
We accurately assess whether your agricultural produce meets the minimum pesticide residue levels set for all export produce.
We offer training to improve production teams agronomic knowledge relating to soil health, fertilizers and crop nutrition, irrigation scheduling, crop disease management, how to build resilient, sustainable farming systems.