GUSS Automation has introduced a new autonomous herbicide sprayer. According to GUSS, the robot called Herbicide GUSS is the first autonomous herbicide sprayer for orchards on the market.
A single operator can monitor any combination of up to eight Herbicide GUSS sprayers from the safety of their vehicle. “The herbicide sprayer removes the driver from the tractor to save labour and eliminate exposure to the chemicals being sprayed”, GUSS emphasises.
The US company says that the autonomous herbicide sprayer can help growers to improve productivity, increase precision and efficiency, reduce operational and overhead costs, and enhance worker safety.
Nine sensors on the sprayer detect, target and spot spray weeds on the orchard floor, which reduces material usage and drift during application. “Reducing the amount of material being sprayed increases safety for the operator, environment, and food produced”, GUSS points out.
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Gary Thompson, COO at GUSS, says that growers have been asking for an autonomous herbicide sprayer. Herbicide GUSS has weed detection technology on board, that delivers lower chemical usage, helping the grower to reduce costs. “And this is a benefit to the environment,” Mr Thompson says.
GUSS says that the autonomous herbicide sprayer is designed to decrease labour and material costs while increasing efficiency, precision, and safety for growers worldwide. Herbicide GUSS is 23.5 ft/7.2m long, 6.5 ft/1.98m tall and ranges from 8.3/2.53 to 19 ft/5.8m wide, depending on the boom extension.
The hydraulic controlled, height adjustable booms accommodate 18-to-22ft (5.48-to-6.7m) row spacing and tilt for varying berm sizes. The breakaway booms prevent damage to trees and crops
Herbicide GUSS uses a combination of GPS, LiDAR, cameras and the latest technology to autonomously roll through the orchards, day or night. It has a turning radius of 2.7m/9 feet and weighs 12,460 lb/5,651 kg.
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The diesel engine of the robot can run for 13 to 14 hours. Herbicide GUSS will spray 7 acres per hour, depending on speed and row spacing. The sale price is US $298,000. The 9-sensor precision spot spraying kit is an add-on option with a price of $45,000. GUSS Automation will begin production of the first autonomous herbicide sprayers in Spring 2023.
To start, Herbicide GUSS will be available at select John Deere dealers in the US and Australia. GUSS Automation and John Deere have formed a joint venture earlier this year. “The announcement of Herbicide GUSS underscores why we are so excited to have GUSS as part of our High Value Crop solutions line-up”, Greg Christensen, John Deere Marketing Manager for 5 Series Tractors and High Value Crops, says.
“The GUSS team has years and depth of experience in the high-value crop spraying business. Orchard and vineyard customers in the high-value crop space face many labour, safety and sustainability challenges. GUSS, Mini GUSS and now Herbicide GUSS can help producers overcome these challenges.”
GUSS explains that the autonomous herbicide sprayer was developed out of necessity. Orchard spraying business owner, Dave Crinklaw dealt with the shortage of agricultural labour in his own business and he found himself looking for answers and the solution came in the form of a driverless orchard sprayer.
After developing and successfully introducing a fleet of GUSS (Global Unmanned Spray System) sprayers into his own custom application business, Crinklaw decided to make GUSS autonomous sprayers available for other growers to own.