New Platform Reveals Plant Yield Secrets to Achieve Better Crop Results

To achieve a high level of confidence in new agricultural products, researchers and developers must examine new plants or the effect of new materials on the plant, so they must carry out repeated field trials, where it is difficult to control external influences. such as soil conditions, climate, or plant pests.

Adoption of new methods to accelerate research and development.

This need for accurate and reliable information led ICL (Israel Chemicals LTD.), The world's largest Israeli provider of plant nutrition solutions, to adopt the Plantarray diagnostic system. This is a fully automated, sensor-based phenotyping platform that enables scientists, breeders and researchers to quickly and easily perform a simultaneous performance analysis of the entire plant.

The system measures the movement of water from the roots of the plant until its release into the atmosphere (plant transpiration), the accumulation of biomass, the efficiency in the use of water and nutrients, the activity of the key physiological traits of the plant. plant as well as the environment and conclude how productive the plant is under various environmental conditions.

It is used in a greenhouse as preliminary tests for field trials and thus enhances separate investigation of field disturbances. The technology was developed at the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Plantarray: a true revelation

“In the first experiment,” recalls Yaron Beer, ICL's Global Field Experiments Manager, “we had a very surprising experience. After a few days we had statistically analyzed the results which gave a very quick push in the right direction. In regular trials, we would get these results only after months of hard work."

“Even for existing products, the system allows us to discover layers that have been hidden from us until now. The ability to obtain absolute information from the system on plant yield and soil conditions, allows us to identify and even refine the application guidelines of the material to farmers, ”he says.

A reliable system

“We like the fact that each plant is an exact replica of itself and receives a personal and precise treatment, which is maintained with the help of a feedback mechanism throughout the experiment. We looked at other sensor-based platforms, but none of them had daily fixes.”

In addition, the Plantarray system constantly measures and therefore builds a huge database that does not exist in any other commercial system, allowing us to make informed decisions. Plantarray detects plant reactions long before we know how to visually recognize them. For example, the detection of nutrient deficiencies in the plant usually occurs in advanced stages. The system warns us of this deficiency at the beginning of the process ”.

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