Croptimal provides the analyses results and agriculture recommendations in real time and high accuracy which enables the grower to execute correction activities.
In today's unstable weather, production costs are climbing, and profits eroded. Farmers require more accurate data on their crops and soil to calculate optional fertiliser quantities.
Croptimal offers a solution to this quandary. Its laboratory optimises the basic nutrition, and the micro and macro elements of all nutrition elements: plant tissue, soil and water. Laboratory services include collecting samples and preparing them for analysis. An agronomist then studies the results and the grower receives recommendations the following day, thus facilitating on line fertiliser quantification.
Croptimal’s goal is to reduce time of analyses results from ten days to ten minutes.
From the chemical industry to agriculture
Croptimal is one of three company’s fully owned by a Canadian holding company - Eruocontrol TechnicsLtd.The basic technology of all three companies is ED-XRF ((Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence) technology.
Company CEO Doron Reinis says that it all began three years ago on a chance visit of a chemical company employee, who wanted to know whether it was possible to measure the quantity of Potassium in lettuce. Realising the business potential of ED-XRF technology, constituted a quantum leap forward into precision agriculture.
The extended learning process encompassed work with growers, market studies and realising that frustrated growers lacked information. A meeting with Netafim, which had seen the beneficial potential for growers worldwide, was an additional development incentive.
The lessons learned during the study period led to some important conclusions regarding development:
1. Correct sampling methodology is essential and must therefore be part of the solution.
2. Since different people will produce different results, sampling must be automated and follow a protocol. The resultant process takes 6 minutes, compared to 48 hours hitherto.
3. In addition to the soil, plant tissue must also be tested, which most growers fail to do.
In addition to savings on fertiliser and costs, Croptimal's main advantage is that it can affect the plant's ability to absorb nutrients and thus optimise fertilisation. For example, peppers growing in the Arava region will not absorb nutrients at temperatures less than 7OC. Since temperatures can be forecast, fertilisation can be adapted accordingly.
How does it work?
We make seasonal agreements with growers per unit of area that include sampling and testing frequency, types of tests and precise sampling locations.
The tester brings bar-coded sampling bags, linked through a smart phone to barcode identification software. The samples are tested at either mobile or regular laboratories and all data is sent to a Cloud database, where meteorological data is also stored (each area has a metrological station). The Cloud has an algorithm that correlates weather and fertiliser data, and this produces a protocol adapted to the grower, region and local conditions.
Doron says that no other fertilising protocol in the world is as accurate.
He envisages a future in which robotics will provide the necessary fertilisation recommendations automatically; it is a future for which his company is striving.
Croptimal is still learning, progressing and developing, and this needs very deep pockets.
Croptimal started out in Israel and works with growers all over the country and with all crop types. 'Israel is a good laboratory', says Doron. 'Our climate allows us to test small areas of almost all climate and soil types. That is why we started in Israel. We are progressing at a satisfactory pace.'