Sensor detection of weeds during spraying can make significant savings in herbicide usage and promote higher work rates, says Amazone of the new AmaSpot system.
Designed for herbicide applications to stubbles post-harvest or to combat weeds before a new crop emerges, the new technique employs chlorophyll-detecting fluorescence sensors positioned 100cm (39in) apart on the sprayer boom and ‘looking’ 60cm (24in) ahead.
Each sensor scans the ground in 4 sectors, each 25cm (10in) wide for accuracy, while quick-reaction pulse width modulation control of the nozzles switches the spray on and off in the fraction of a second.
Amazone and its technology partners Rometron, which developed the technology from a research project at Wageningen University, and nozzles manufacturer Agrotop, say AmaSpot works with centimetre precision at speeds up to 20kph (12mph) day or night.
Using pulse width modulation with a high frequency of 50Hz means also that the spray rate can be varied infinitely between 100% and 30% without affecting the droplet size spectrum.
Amazone envisage the AmaSpot system being used for selectively spraying individual weeds or volunteers from the preceding crop, or applying a blanket spray at a reduced rate while introducing an increased rate of herbicide wherever there are high populations of the target weeds.
Both methods would reduce the total quantity of herbicide applied and increase sprayer work rate because the tank would not have to be replenished so often.
The Amazone UX AmaSpot is the first commercial sprayer to use the system; it is available in sizes of 4200-litre and 5200-litre (1100 and 1370 gal) with a 24m (78ft) boom.