Smart - N

By: Agri Optics New Zealand  06-Dec-2011

Smart N

A technology is being developed by Agri Optics New Zealand Ltd, (NZ Patent Application No 582798) using VIS/NIR sensors that has the ability to identify urine patches on grazed pasture and, through the use of liquid fertiliser, to  avoid applying any further nutrient to the patch. The system is also capable of delivering a nitrification inhibitor to those identified patches.

Nitrogen leaching from dairy pasture is recognised as the number one environmental problem facing our dairy industry, and cow urine patches are the main culprit. This system offers a significant step forward by avoiding additional “wasted’ fertiliser inputs to those urine patches where no additional response will be gained, and by improving the utilisation of expensive nitrification inhibitors by applying them only to where they are needed. By moving to liquid fertiliser it also offers the opportunity for improved tactical use of nitrogen, again helping farmers improve their nitrogen use efficiency (NUE).

All dairy farmers in New Zealand are faced with the issue of nitrate leaching and therefore could all be impacted by this technology. New Zealand’s marketing interests overseas are closely tied to its environmental credentials. This system could be of tremendous assistance to marketing our NZ products overseas and assist in bolstering our clean green image through a technological approach that ensures we make more efficient use of our nutrients. As well as achieving industry environmental goals the system would also achieve cost reductions for farmers.


MAF-SFF Project L10/128 - First cuts

In 2010 the Precision Pastoral Nutrient Management Group was set up and gained funding through MAF-SFF to look at the viability of the Snmart-N Fertiliser Application system. For further information regarding this reseach programme  check out the following link to


MAF-SFF Desk-top Studies:

Contact Agri Optics New Zealand


Print this page

Other products and services from Agri Optics New Zealand


Agri Optics - EM Soil Surveys and Precision Ag Data Solutions

Provide full digital map of your farm to sub 2cm accuracy. Identify textures with ground truthing.



WeedSeeker® technology uses sensors and nozzles spaced at 300mm - 380mm apart.This is due to the narrower field of view associated with the WeedSeeker® sensors compared to a 500mm spacing on a standard boom. WeedSeeker® can also be used to selectively apply fungicides, insecticides, fertilisers and other inputs to targeted plants instead of ‘weeds’ in a range of applications.


Mapping and variable rate application system

These images can by used to create management zones, identify pest and disease problems, evaluate drainage systems efficacy, modifying soil sampling strategies, monitor and modify irrigation schedules, determine optimum harvesting dates and make variable rate prescription maps. GreenSeeker® optical sensor technology enables you to measure, in real time, a crop's nitrogen levels and variably rate apply the "prescribed" nitrogen requirements.


Rugged outdoor handheld computers with inbuilt GPS

The Nomad, Juno and Yuma outdoor rugged handheld computers help users collect accurate field data and work more productively in any outdoor or service-related application. Enter field records, map field boundaries, record soil sample locations by grid or zone, and capture images of weeds or pests for scouting purposes with one solution.


EM Soil Surveys

Soils vary across farms and within paddocks but the practice has been to manage these as though variations did not exist – applying a consistent rate of fertiliser across a paddock being an example. The EM38-MK2 provides measurement of both quad-phase and in-phase components, within two distinct depth ranges, all simultaneously, without any requirement for soil-to-instrument contact.