The Land

HARDI's GeoSelect takes selective spraying to the next level

HARDI's Rubicon spot spraying. Picture: Supplied

This is branded content for HARDI Australia.

Spraying specialist HARDI's latest innovation is proving a success in helping farmers around Australia fight weed problems in their paddocks while also significantly reducing costs.

Its groundbreaking new product GeoSelect - developed by HARDI Australia's innovation department at its headquarters in South Australia - was launched last year after two years of development and testing.

The GeoSelect system enables centimetre-perfect herbicide application and can reduce spraying costs by as much as 90 per cent because of reductions in chemicals, labour and water.

GeoSelect uses a drone or even a manned aircraft to provide geo-referenced imagery of the area to be sprayed. The sprayer uses data directly from the drone or manned aircraft to plan the spraying operations, enabling more accurate and accountable chemical application.

HARDI Australia innovation manager Heath Thompson said GeoSelect was a radical departure from existing data-linked spray technology which relied on real-time connection to boom-mounted cameras.

"Using GeoSelect farmers know exactly where and how they should spray before entering the paddock," he said. "They know how much chemical to use, where the target weeds are in each paddock, and which areas might not need any spray at all.

"It's based around capturing data, processing that data and issuing machine instructions."

Trials conducted by HARDI Australia in June 2021 showed the GeoSelect selective program resulted in only 17.4 per cent of a paddock being sprayed, an 82.6 per cent saving on chemicals compared to a blanket spray. Testing also showed a 99.7 per cent hit rate.

Drone mapping the area. Picture: Supplied

As well as reducing costs and the environmental impact of herbicide use, the system saves on machine depreciation costs and soil compaction.

The data can be used for many purposes including weed mapping, proof of placement and predictive analysis, as well as being retained to inform future spraying.

The GeoSelect system can be displayed on a screen in the cab or any mobile device. It works with HARDI's H-SELECT nozzle technology to precisely coordinate four different nozzles at each nozzle body, one to spot spray and three others to rapidly switch between nozzle combinations to maintain the required dose set point across a wide, turning boom.

Farmers can source spatial data from their own drone or use a contract drone service, helicopter or satellite data. HARDI can help growers set up data inputs from their chosen source.

Using real-time metrics, GeoSelect makes strategic adjustments to the target droplet size via the in-cab control panel to better suit environmental conditions.

GeoSelect automatically adjusts for boom deflection, changes in ambient conditions and is robust and accurate in any environment. Application accuracy is retained at standard speeds of 25 to 30 kilometres per hour and also when spraying at night, opening up many more opportunities for spraying when it's needed.

Rubicon sprayer with the drone mapping the area. Picture: Supplied

The system provides the farmer with suggestions on spraying practices including the optimum speed to drive at in certain parts of the paddock to achieve maximum efficiency and savings, or skipping certain run lines altogether due to the absence of weeds in the area.

Mr Thompson said that unlike prescription mapping systems, GeoSelect isn't restricted by farm size or boom width.

"We currently can scan and process up to 1,000 hectares a day using drones but with manned aircrafts, such as helicopters or planes, this will increase significantly," he said.

"Boom width is also scalable to suit the grower's needs. In contrast to conventional systems which require one camera to be mounted along every metre of the boom and currently max out at 36 metre booms, GeoSelect can go up to 54 metre booms."

GeoSelect is now available as an additional option to HARDI's self propelled range including the Rubicon, Saritor, and Alpha Evo. For more information visit www.hardi.com.au/geoselect or call HARDI on 1300 042 734.

This is branded content for HARDI Australia.