Smart Spot Spray System Saves Money and Reduces Over-Application
October 22, 2019
A next-gen spot spray system by Trimble is generating some buzz among farmers, who stand to cut their chemical costs by up to 90% with the new WeedSeeker 2.
“It uses an automatic spot spraying system and active light crop sensors to detect and deliver a precise amount of chemical — only to weeds and not to the bare ground,” says Daniel Rodriguez, the WeedSeeker 2 product manager for Trimble. “It incorporates the latest technology in its intelligent sensors, significantly improving the detection and application of product.”
The sizable drop in input costs makes a big difference for farmers, especially given today’s tight profit margins, says Rodriguez. But there’s also a plus for the environment. “The environmental benefits are also proportional to the financial benefits,” he explains. “Weed resistance keeps growing in scale and continues expanding worldwide. As a result, the chemicals to combat weeds in these regions are becoming stronger. With WeedSeeker 2, you are putting down less chemicals that could end up in water runoff, for example.”
Spot spray systems bring a variety of improvements over traditional agricultural spraying. By sensing individual weeds in the field and targeting them with a localized dose of herbicide, farmers can greatly reduce their usage of herbicide. Spot spraying is especially useful for fighting herbicide-resistant weeds. There are a variety of weed killing chemicals to choose from, with more expensive chemicals typically used on herbicide-resistant weeds. By targeting resistant weeds individually, spot spray systems allow cost-effective elimination of troublesome weeds by significantly reducing the amount of higher cost herbicides used. With reduced chemicals applied, there is also a major benefit for the environment, further promoting sustainability and stewardship on the farm.
WeedSeeker 2 brings next-generation improvements to the spot spraying market. New intelligent sensors save time in the field by eliminating the need for system resets. After a quick calibration upon powering on, WeedSeeker 2 automatically adjusts on the run to changing temperatures, ambient light, and shifting backgrounds like soil or stubble, assuring sensor accuracy in all conditions. These smart sensors also know the speed and their position on the sprayer boom. That means they won’t spray sections of the field that have already been covered, and will automatically adjust spray timing when making a turn to ensure a weed is covered.
Knowing where weeds concentrate in fields gives farmers the power to better attack them year over year. The WeedSeeker 2 system now logs every weed sprayed, so users can see in real time where there are problem areas and review detailed maps from records before the next spray. WeedSeeker 2 is lighter and more agile on the largest sprayer booms and the sensors now provide expanded coverage areas. The new spot spray system sensors improve efficiency by eliminating the need for nozzle reconfigurations while simultaneously reducing the number of sensors needed.
The new system is fully compatible with Trimble displays, positioning services and Autopilot™ vehicle guidance. The GFX-750™ display system can quickly transition between the run screens for guidance and spot spraying while simultaneously controlling both, allowing a cleaner tractor cab and eliminating the need for multiple displays for guidance and sprayer control.
While WeedSeeker 2 is ideal for use with Trimble displays and auto-guidance, these are not required. Any ISOBUS compatible display with universal terminal capability can be used to monitor and control the new spot spray system. With an intuitive interface, the system is simple and easy to use, providing growers optimal flexibility in their farming operation.