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Sensors 2017, 17(6), 1396;

Development of a Stereovision-Based Technique to Measure the Spread Patterns of Granular Fertilizer Spreaders

Department of Biosystems Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Fisheries and Food Research, Institute of Agricultural, Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 115, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
Faculty of Information Management & Media, University of Applied Sciences, Moltkestrasse 30, 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 May 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 13 June 2017 / Published: 15 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Collection Sensors in Agriculture and Forestry)
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Centrifugal fertilizer spreaders are by far the most commonly used granular fertilizer spreader type in Europe. Their spread pattern however is error-prone, potentially leading to an undesired distribution of particles in the field and losses out of the field, which is often caused by poor calibration of the spreader for the specific fertilizer used. Due to the large environmental impact of fertilizer use, it is important to optimize the spreading process and minimize these errors. Spreader calibrations can be performed by using collection trays to determine the (field) spread pattern, but this is very time-consuming and expensive for the farmer and hence not common practice. Therefore, we developed an innovative multi-camera system to predict the spread pattern in a fast and accurate way, independent of the spreader configuration. Using high-speed stereovision, ejection parameters of particles leaving the spreader vanes were determined relative to a coordinate system associated with the spreader. The landing positions and subsequent spread patterns were determined using a ballistic model incorporating the effect of tractor motion and wind. Experiments were conducted with a commercial spreader and showed a high repeatability. The results were transformed to one spatial dimension to enable comparison with transverse spread patterns determined in the field and showed similar results. View Full-Text
Keywords: fertilizer; spread pattern; stereovision fertilizer; spread pattern; stereovision

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Cool, S.R.; Pieters, J.G.; Seatovic, D.; Mertens, K.C.; Nuyttens, D.; Van De Gucht, T.C.; Vangeyte, J. Development of a Stereovision-Based Technique to Measure the Spread Patterns of Granular Fertilizer Spreaders. Sensors 2017, 17, 1396.

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