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Soil nutrient sensor receives Agritechnia innovation award
Picture of tractor on field
11 November

An EU-funded project managed by the REA, Optifert, received yesterday in Hanover, Germany, one of the 33 'silver medals' awarded this year by Deutsche Landwirtschafts Gesellschaft (DLG), the German Agricultural Society, in the framework of Agritechnia, the world's leading exhibition for agricultural machinery. The new technology developed by the project determines the amount and type of fertilisers crops need in less than 10 minutes and on the spot.

The prize, awarded by a pool of independent experts appointed by DLG, recognises the operational reliability of a soil nutrient sensor developed by the Optifert team.

Picture of Award ceremony venuePicture of optifert representatives holding the 'silver medal' award

Award ceremony venue and Optifert representatives holding the 'silver medal' award © Optifert Team

The new solution, selected from a list of 393 technologies competing for these innovation awards, analises soil samples collected directly in the field and determines the amount and type of nutrients available for the crops and the fertilisers needed in only a few minutes.

The goal is to maximise yield by optimising the required nutrient doses at any time, considering both weather conditions and crop growth stages, without external laboratory costs.

The consortium has also developed a dosing unit, still at a pre-industrial scale, which could potentially be coupled with standard irrigation systems, adapting the dose of fertilisers not only to the required amount of nutrients for each crop period but also to the frequency of the ideal irrigation rate required by the farmers.

Picture of optifert soil nutrient sensor

Optifert soil nutrient sensor © Martin Smolka


Three prototypes have been successfully tested so far in a corn field in Branderburg, Germany, this year.

Picture of tractor fertilising an agricultural field

Tractor fertilising an agricultural field © iStock


The Optifert team, supported by an EU grant for research of almost €1.5 million, is made up of four research partners and five industrial partners, and is expected to complete its work by the end of the month.

The project has been already featured on EuroNews.