Real-time diagnostic soil sampling can result in higher yield and optimized fertilizer costs.
By Ann Donahue
There is the classic business school lesson about the legs of a stool, where each leg represents one element of getting a product out the door: speed, precision and cost. An organization needs to balance all three, or else the stool is unstable and can’t support weight.
For Montreal-based ChrysaLabs, the element that is frequently missing from agtech advancements—and thereby making the output of those companies unstable—is speed. The soil sampling company believes there should be no time gap between taking a sample from a field and the availability of results. The quicker data is available, the better decisions can be made—and getting results in minutes after field sampling is the best way for growers to proceed.
ChrysaLabs developed a portable probe that allows for fast and precise soil mapping. It can measure in real-time soil nutrients and health with the same accuracy of a laboratory. This information is relayed in seconds to growers and agronomists through the company’s data management platform. In addition, there is no limit to the number of soil samples the probe can make, which ChrysaLabs says results in higher yield and optimized fertilizer costs.
In real time, the probe can measure moisture, pH, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, organic matter, cation-exchange capacity and minor nutrients. The data is instantly transferred wirelessly to the ChrysaLabs management platform, and each test can be geo-referenced, allowing the creation of immediate fertilization maps. All of this occurs in less than a minute, and the analysis depth can be adjusted as required.
This process occurs in three steps: A grower can login to the platform, select the field and then identify that area that will be sampled. Using a mobile phone, the grower can then follow the checkpoints that were selected for sampling and follow through in the exact location that was mapped out. Finally, the results will be seen in real-time, with maps generated, which allows for fast decision making on next steps for treatment, if required.
Samuel Fournier, the Co-Founder and CEO of ChrysaLabs, says that what sets the company apart is that its product eliminates the guesswork that often comes with soil health. With the lack of lag time in data results, better decisions can be made and implemented quickly.
“We want to be perceived as the real-time soil analysis company,” he said. “When you think about information from the soil, we want people to think about ChrysaLabs.”
ChrysaLabs is a member of the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology in Salinas, Calif., and through networking events the company has access to the thousands of Western Growers members interested in new technologies. Most recently, the company presented at the WGCIT booth at the World Ag Expo in February in Tulare, Calif. According to a Global Harvest Automation Report recently commissioned by WG, 65 percent of participating farmers in the study have invested in agtech in the past three years to use in their operations.