Smart variable rate liquid fertilizer applicator has been developed to sense soil fertility and apply NPK fertilizers at desired rates according to the need of oil palm trees by using spot application method. Thus it is an essential component of smart farming to save fertilizer input & reduce environmental pollution.


Smart variable rate liquid fertilizer applicator employs multiple soil fertility information input systems. Based on input system selection, as oil palm tree is detected, machine considers the speed information from speed encoder and soil fertility information from selected NPK input system. It calculates NPK deficiency and turns on DC pumps of aqueous solutions of urea, TSP and MOP fertilizers along with the adjustment of flow control valves (FCV-N, FCV-P and FCV-K) to get the desired application rates of NPK fertilizers. NPK fertilizers are applied on 25 m2 area around the oil palm tree using spray nozzles leaving the extra area among trees. Thus it uses spot application method which saves fertilizer and contributes in environment protection.Speed, calculated fertility, flow rates of liquid fertilizers and pressure in fertilizer mixing line of flow control system is transferred wirelessly to remote data station located up to 2 km distance for record/history. In field testing of machine, error of fertilizer application, effective field capacity (EFC) and field efficiency were found in the range of ±3 %, 1.09 ha/h and 70.78 % respectively. Field efficiency of smart variable rate liquid fertilizer applicator falls in general range of 60-85 % for agricultural machinery.

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