Weed detection technology is back! It’s still limited to non-crop situations (pre-seed, chem-fallow, post-harvest), but a couple of emerging issues make it increasingly valuable, particularly for larger farms. Also, advances in the technology make it more useful and accurate than the early versions.
The new technology allows producers to drive up to 25 km/h over fields confident the system is targeting the weeds specifically and not simply broadcasting chemical over the entire field.
This is especially beneficial when using expensive tank blends to avoid weed resistance. Also, it allows a farmer to carry less mix in the tank during spring when machinery weight on soft fields can be an issue.
The WEEDIT system impresses Tom Wolf of Sprayers101.com , marketed in Canada by Tramontana. In addition to faster travel speed capability, it also has higher resolution, offering a nozzle every 20 cm for greater chemical savings potential. It’s distributed in Alberta by AGA Agro (Travis Albrecht in Schuler, https://www.agaagro.com/index.html).
The system can have 36 sensors one meter apart; which fits a 120-foot boom. As the system travels over the field, it sprays only when a sensor detects weeds in its path and turns on just the nozzles needed to apply an appropriate dose of herbicide.
Just how responsive is this technology? Watch this video out of Australia to see one play a Michael Jackson song written in weeds! Now, we’re not going to recommend you play songs with weeds, but it does seem to illustrate the accuracy of the system.
Tom commented that, “Once you see the technology in action, it’s hard to go back to broadcast spraying.”