Trimble has acquired Bilberry, a French technology company specializing in selective spraying systems for sustainable farming.
Bilberry applies artificial intelligence (AI) technology that identifies a wide variety of weed species in real time for a broad range of crop types. The system allows sprayers to be retrofitted with the technology to apply herbicide to only weeds(green-on-green) rather than spraying an entire crop or bare ground.
Bilberry’s system also enables farmers to visualize their crops on a weed density map so they can track the evolution of problem areas. Bilberry was one of the first companies to make this technology commercially available.
According to Trimble, case studies have shown that the system can reduce the use of herbicides by more than 80 percent, while protecting the environment and significantly lowering input costs for farmers.
As part of its crop protection portfolio, Trimble offers WeedSeeker. This system can identify plants on bare soil (green-on-brown) and can only be used prior to the crop emerging from the soil. The addition of Bilberry’s AI technology and extensive worldwide weed database is to extend Trimble’s crop protection portfolio by providing selective spraying to identify differences in plants (green-on-green) and can be used throughout the spraying season as well as prior to crops emerging.
Combining the technology of Trimble and Bilberry is to enable the development of new selective spraying solutions for farmers worldwide, who often struggle to integrate and use disparate hardware and software products across various brands of agricultural equipment.
“Our planned acquisition of Bilberry builds out Trimble’s crop protection portfolio by adding green-on-green selective spraying capabilities and supports our development of autonomous solutions,” said Jim Chambers, vice president of Trimble Agriculture.
“The Bilberry solution is brand agnostic and compatible with a broad range of spraying equipment manufacturers, which is ideal for mixed fleet operations. This capability, together with existing Trimble competencies, will enable us to expand our role in the growing market for precision agriculture solutions that can reduce input costs, create efficiencies for our customers and drive sustainability in farming.”