From precision air strikes to precision ag


A group of South Canterbury cropping farmers are taking soil sampling to a new level of precision with New Zealand’s first real-time soil sampler. Andrew Swallow reports.

SEAUN LOVELL spent 22 years in the British Army calling in precision air strikes around the world. Now he’s deploying precision soil sampling techniques on New Zealand farms.

He’s been in the country a couple of years and was recently employed by four South Canterbury farmers to run start-up company Smart Ag Solutions and its state-of-the-art soil sampler, a Veris MSP3.

“The Veris will help farmers better understand their soils and where they need to apply more, or less, nutrients and irrigation.

It’s another tool in the farmer’s armoury,” quips the former Royal Corps of Signals sergeant-major.

His army role was tactical forward air controller. “That’s calling in fast jets, ground attack helicopters, artillery, etc,” he explains.

Now he’s operations manager for Smart Ag Solutions and while he didn’t anticipate working in agriculture on leaving the army, his experience operating and maintaining high-tech military communications systems in rugged environments with little or no on-thespot support is ideal, say Smart Ag’s directors. He’s also picked up a feel for farm work on his wife’s family’s farm at Eiffelton, Mid Canterbury.

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