While a range of optical weed spray systems have hit the market recently, Australian sprayer manufacturer Goldacres has picked its winner, backing the French technology company Bilberry in a landmark deal.
Goldacres general manager Roger Richards said the company would soon offer the weed sensing technology as a factory fitted option on its range of sprayers.
"Goldacres will co-develop the architecture required to integrate the weed sensing system with the sprayer rate controller," he said.
"After considering other options being developed in Europe, we have settled on Bilberry to help further develop the technology to suit Australian farms.
"Bilberry have set up an office in Australia and so it made sense to work with a team which are closer to our Australian engineering department."
Goldacres product specialist Dave Tuppen said the Bilberrry product was fundamentally different to other sensors on the market, using artificial intelligence, deep learning and high speed, high definition cameras to determine what is a weed and what is not.
Mr Tuppen said while the system would initially be limited to sensing 'green on brown', in other words green weeds on fallows, Australian development would soon see the system offering in-crop or 'green-on-green' weed recognition.
"With green-on-green technology the possibilities are endless," he said.
"Basically, if you can see the weed in the crop such as ryegrass in canola then the camera can detect it."
Mr Tuppen said the new technology solution will be available on booms up to 48 metres wide.
"We currently offer 48m wide booms on the G8 8000L self-propelled sprayer and the 8500L Prairie Pro trailed sprayer," he said.
"In 2020 we will make this width available on the G6."
Mr Tuppen said Goldacres saw the new technology as a win for everyone.
"With reported chemical savings of up to 80 per cent, there are the obvious dollars in the farmers pocket but there is also the reduced risk of crop yield penalty due to blanket spraying that is not always identified or measured," he said.
"The ability to use a hotter mix to target those difficult weeds that have over time built a resistance to certain chemicals is a reality, with the possibility to also blanket spray a normal mix rate is another feature of the system.
"Another big winner out of this is the environment, being able to use less chemical, less water and achieve better results in weed control is beneficial to everyone."
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