Topcon Releases Laser-based Sensor for Measuring Crop Growth

Mar 9, 2013
Yuka Ikematsu, Nikkei Monozukuri
The "CropSpec"
The "CropSpec"
[Click to enlarge image]
The distribution of nitrogen measured with the CropSpec
The distribution of nitrogen measured with the CropSpec
[Click to enlarge image]

Topcon Corp released a laser-based sensor that measures the growth of crops in a contactless way.

When the sensor, "CropSpec," is combined with a variable fertilizer distributor, it is possible to distribute fertilizer in accord with the growth state of crops.

In general, sensors for measuring crop growth compare the amount of sunlight with the amount of light reflected from the farm field. On the other hand, CropSpec measures the distribution of nitrogen (growth state) by emitting laser light to the farm field. Because it does not use sunlight, measurement results are not affected by changes in the weather.

By attaching the CropSpec to Topcon's "System110" guidance system used in a fertilizer distributor, it becomes possible to give more fertilizer to undergrown crops.

The System110 can be attached to agricultural machinery such as fertilizer distributor and consists of a GPS receiver and a display. If the map data of the area to be fertilized is registered in the system, it, for example, tells efficient routes for agricultural work with audio guidance and shows finished areas.

In recent years, there are increasing needs for technologies that reduce the amount of fertilizer because of the increasing prices of fertilizers and social demands for low-carbon societies.