Expect to see new developments with on-the-go sensing from vehicle-mounted devices that help regulate the application of seed, fertilizer and chemicals. “A fertilizer spreader might be able to have a sensor at the front that will test, say, soil pH every few feet and change the rate of lime application as the spreader passes over that point,” says Marvin Batte, Ohio State University.

On-the-go sensing technology has been around in other forms, including nitrogen sensing, since the 1990s. Examples include GreenSeeker, Norsk Hydro (Yara) N sensor, and Crop Circle, which all measure the greenness of leaves for variable nitrogen application.