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Fast Talk

How Frederik Jung-Rothenhaumlusler Detects Fertile Land from Above

Photograph by Baerbel Schmidt
Photograph by Baerbel Schmidt

Product development manager, RapidEye
Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany

Jung-Rothenhäusler, 51, uses satellite imaging and technology to help farmers detect and solve field deficiencies.

"Each plant has a genetic code or plan, and its growth should correlate. Take corn, for example. We know that corn will reach what is called 'canopy closure,' which is when you look from above and can no longer see soil. If this doesn't happen after a certain amount of time, it means there is a problem. Our satellites can also measure the amount of light reflected by plants — healthy plants reflect very little red light. This can tell us if there is a chlorophyll or nitrogen deficiency. Our Web-based programs notify the farmer's consultant, and he and the farmer can then discuss what changes need to be made."

A version of this article appeared in the September 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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