N-Tester - to measure leaf nitrogen

Yara N-Tester is a hand held leaf nitrogen measurement tool which enables quick and easy readings to be taken in a growing crop to establish its exact nitrogen status.

This enables fast and accurate field specific recommendations to help fine tune application during the growing season. This can result in more accurate field scale recommendations, improving profitability and minimising environmental effect.

Ask your plant! 

The nutritional status of the plants determines the timing and amount of fertiliser. With the N-Tester it is possible to identify the nitrogen requirements of plants directly on the field easily, safely and quickly. The nitrogen fertiliser demand is never constant and can vary considerably from year to year and field to field. By splitting the N-fertilisation into more dressings, it is possible to optimise the N-fertiliser rate according to the actual plants needs on any field in any year. 

A plant analysis with the N-Tester gives valuable information about the current nutritional status of the plant. In cereals from this measurement, the optimum N-fertiliser amount at ear emergence can be calculated.

What crops can the N-Tester be used on?

The N-Tester has only been calibrated in the UK for use on winter cereals - winter wheat and winter barley as well as winter triticale and winter rye - On these crops it can be used to determine the nitrogen status of the plant and from this a variety specific nitrogen recommendation can be calculated.

In theory N-Tester could be used on any plant to measure the chlorophyll content of the leaf and as such could be a useful management tool, however, no other crop calibrations exist so these would need to be developed locally by the user and any recommendations would need to be confirmed by locally conducted trials.

The use of N-Tester ensures your economic success

A series of field trials was conducted to assess the advantage of using N-Tester to fine tune nitrogen applications. Applying the correct level of nitrogen to a cereal crop can have a significant benefit both on yield and on grain quality. Ensuring the protein content of grain meets grain buyers specifications can have a significant impact on crop profitability. Trials have shown that by using N-Tester large increases in grain protein content can be achieved.

Yara N-Tester BT

How does N-Tester work?

N-Tester operates by measuring the chlorophyll content of the leaf, as this is related to the nitrogen status of the plant. The measurement point should be in the middle of the blade of the youngest, fully developed leaf. Thirty random measurements from across the field, taken using the usual ‘W’ pattern, give an average value that is used to indicate how much Nitrogen the crop requires. Deriving a fertiliser recommendation is only possible if no other nutrient is limiting the crop growth.

The N-Tester measurements are strongly influenced by crop variety and growth stage. For this reason the N-Tester measurements must be calibrated to take account of this variation. Yara have developed calibrations for winter wheat and winter barley to provide actual nitrogen recommendations. Ask your local Yara agronomist to support you with calibration and to provide you the fertiliser recommendations based on the N-Tester measurement.

How do I obtain the N-Tester recomendations?

The N-Tester works together with the Yara Irix app to give nitrogen recomendations. 

The latest model N-Tester BT is paired to the Irix app using bluetooth, so the recomendations are given in the Irix app rather than on the N-Tester.  This means the recomendations are always up to date as new data and varieties are added to the calibrations.

Users of older models of the N-Tester can also obtain recomendations using the Irix app, simply enter the  N-Tester reading when prompted to get the latest recommendation.

How can I use the N-Tester ?

The N-Tester can be used in two main ways:

As a crop monitoring tool

By taking readings through the season at regular intervals (anything from fortnightly to weekly), the N-Tester can be used as a crop monitoring tool to determine relative changes in crop nitrogen values. This will be in the form of a 3 digit reading. 

As a general guide, on cereals, an N-Tester reading above 700 suggests the crop has sufficient N, a reading below 650 suggests the crop is likely to be deficient. Between 650 and 700 requires a judgement based on recent N applications, previous organic manure/slurries, current weather and growing conditions and whether the 3 digit value has increased or decreased since the previous reading. 

The N-Tester has the ability to detect changes in leaf nitrogen content well before these are noticeable to the naked eye. It can therefore be an extremely useful tool for helping you to decide application timings. 

When using this method there is no need to select crop or crop variety. The N-Tester will give a relative reading on any green leaf which you can then use as the basis for management decisions.

As a nitrogen recommendation tool

The N-Tester can be used in winter wheat and winter barley to provide an actual nitrogen recommendation for applications at growth stages 37 to 51. This enables you to fine tune the final application for yield. Please note if growing milling wheat varieties, additional N may be required for protein.

 

N-Tester FAQs

The N-Tester has only been calibrated in the UK for use on winter cereals - winter wheat and winter barley as well as winter oats and winter rye - On these crops can be used to determine the nitrogen status of the plant and from this a variety specific nitrogen recommendation can be calculated.

In theory N-Tester could be used on any plant to measure the chlorophyll content of the leaf and as such could be a useful management tool, however, no other crop calibrations exist so these would need to be developed locally by the user and any recommendations would need to be confirmed by locally conducted trials.

Yes The N-Tester can be used in conjunction with the YaraIrix app togive you a variety specific nitrogen recommendation in the field. Yara recommend using the N-Tester on winter cereals at GS 37-39 to help fine tune the final nitrogen application.

Simply take the measurements in the field using the N-Tester then enter the reading into the YaraIrix app for the nitrogen recomendation.

Find more information on the YaraIrix

The N-Tester measures the leaf chlorophyll content and uses this to determine the nitrogen content.  This is different from 'free nitrate' which is nitrogen that has been taken up by the plant and stored in the leaf but not yet incorporated into protein.

The most reliable method to determin free nitrate content is to conduct a leaf tissue analysis.

There is no link between the N-Tester reading and the level of nitrogen to apply for protein. The N-Tester is aimed at providing a recommendation for final nitrogen applications to achieve optimum yield.

What the N-Tester will do with continued monitoring is tell you how much nitrogen the crop is able to pick up and will help identify what is happening in the plant. The most important starting point for achieving milling protein spec is to get the nitrogen right for yield. Wheat crops remobilise nitrogen from the leaves to the grain during flowering, but this does not start until mid-flowering, therefore if, through weekly N-Tester reading, you identify levels of nitrogen in the plant falling prior to this time, it can help to identify shortages in nitrogen which will need to be rectified prior to applying the Nufol for protein. As this is likely to be beyond the GS45 cutoff, the absolute recommendation will not be relevant, however something would be beneficial to ensure the crop is optimally fed.

If the nitrogen levels continue to increase, or remain flat, then you can be more confident of optimal nitrogen rates, and therefore just go with the standard Nufol application at the standard timing.

The N-Tester variety recommendations are updated every year to include newer varieties as more calibration data becomes available.

Following the introduction of YaraIrix app the simplest way to obtain a variety specific nitrogen recommendation is to use the N-Tester inconjunction with the YaraIrix app.

All you need to do is to download the basic free version of YaraIrix app, then register the N-Tester within the app to let it know which model you have then you are good to go. Just take the N-Tester readings as normal and use the YaraIrix to convert the 'three digit reading' into a variety and growth stage specific nitrogen recomendation.

For more information see YaraIrix

Alternatively, if you would still like to download the varieties directly into your N-Tester (2013-2018 version only) then please download the N-Tester loader programme and use this update the new variety calibrations into the N-Tester.

The original version of the N-Tester is no longer available.

The new model N-Tester BT can be purchased from the YaraIrix website.

Alternatively the N-Tester can be obtained through the Yara Rewards scheme.

The original version of the N-Tester is no longer available.

The new model N-Tester BT costs €295 for a 12 month subscription.

The new model N-Tester BT can be purchased from the YaraIrix website or alternatively if you have sufficient points the N-Tester can be obtained through the Yara Rewards scheme.