Agronomists and farmers could be set to benefit from a partnership between University of Leicester researchers and Precise Crop Nutrition Ltd (PCNL). Leicester experts in satellite imagery and high performance computing will work with the company to develop a system to help farmers and their advisors make better use of satellite images to develop variable rate nitrogen fertiliser application plans for their crops.

It follows an award of £118,500, including £45K to the University, from Innovate UK and NERC, to fund a year-long technical feasibility study – the first funding success for the University’s new Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation.

Precise Crop Nutrition Ltd currently offer the Precise N-Map service using centrally processed data which is delivered electronically to each farm. The development of the new system will offer a quicker and more flexible way to convert data and will allow agronomists and farmers to be more closely involved in crop management recommendations.

Robin Thompson, Managing Director of Precise Crop Nutrition Ltd: “This is a very exciting development for our company and will help us take our existing N-Map service to the next level. Expertise from the University of Leicester will be invaluable in helping us develop the system for use in the field leading to significant benefits for our clients and, we hope, even greater uptake of our service.”

Tanya Vladimirova, a Professor in the Department of Engineering and Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation, is leading the project. She said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Precision Crop Nutrition Ltd towards improving fertiliser management. Their expertise in precision agriculture technology is crucially important for our understanding of the application.”

“The University is committed to working with industrial partners and applying our expertise to real applications. This project will give a new impetus to our space-related research on accelerated high-performing computing in embedded systems and will serve as a basis for future applications.”


Notes to editors:

For more information contact Professor Tanya Vladimirova at

Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation

As part of its strategic vision, the University of Leicester will bring all its space research and related activities under a single Institute for Space and Earth Observation, focussing on Space/EO missions and instruments and the exploitation of these. To be located on the planned National Space Park, the Institute will develop alongside a range of industrial partners to develop new approaches to innovation in space research and make a major contribution to economic growth, particularly in the space applications landscape.

Space has been identified by the Government as one of the eight great technologies and is seen as cross-cutting enabler of growth. The Space Innovation and Growth Strategy study identified Space as a growth market with the target of £40 billion by 2030, 10% of world market. This growth needs to be underwritten by research and the timely creation of the Leicester Institute of Space and Earth Observation Institute will support the Government’s aspirations for the space sector.