Bayer and Bosch presented their first Smart Spraying concept at the Agritechnica exhibition.
It’s certainly not the first or only solution for selective herbicide application. Dutch company Rometron and now John Deere owned Blue River Technology are just 2 examples, but it’s very interesting that technology supplier Bosch and chemical supplier Bayer are jointly working on sustainable weed control.
The concept presented at Agritechnica consists of a camera about 30 cm (11.8”) in front of the spray boom and four spray lines. In reality, the cameras are one meter (39.4”) apart, to cover the complete boom width. The nozzles (so far) are at a common 50 cm (19.7”) distance.
One of the 4 spray lines is used for clear water, whereas the other 3 are available for herbicides, but also for other chemicals. The herbicides are stored in small containers and the spray liquid is premixed upon demand.
Before the farmer or contractor sets off for a field, a digital ‘Field Manager’ helps him assess the situation on the field and recommends the optimum timing for treating the weeds. As soon as a camera detects weed(s) in the field, algorithms conclude what herbicide(s) to apply and in what dosage.
The clear water line makes sure the targeted application rate, say 200 l/ha (21.38 gal/ac), is maintained at all times. Both companies demonstrated their concept using sugar beet and wheat plants, as well as common speedwell and scented mayweed.
In the project, Bosch’s research work is focusing on sensor technology, smart analytics and selective spray systems. Bayer is contributing the lessons it has learned in the field of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), including the development of algorithms that serve as the basis for agronomical decision-making, integrated pest management and formulation and application technology.
A spokesman at the Xarvio (Bayer) booth explained that a practical prototype is scheduled for 2019, whereas the technology is supposed to go on sale in the year 2021.