AGCO joins forces to create new targeted sprayer technology

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With global agriculture focused on reducing the use of herbicides, US machinery company AGCO has joined forces with other specialists to create new targeted sprayer technology.

Using targeted sprayer technology can ultimately reduce the use of herbicides as it only applies the chemicals where necessary, rather than the traditional blanket treatments.

AGCO has entered into a proof of concept (PoC) collaboration agreement with Robert Bosch GmbH, BASF Digital Farming GmbH and Raven Industries Inc. (NASDAQ:RAVN).

Their collective goal is to make the application of crop protection products more effective and efficient by reducing crop input costs while driving farm and environmental sustainability.

To support the reduction in herbicide application, the targeted spraying PoC will focus on real-time sensing technology to make crop protection decisions. By detecting weeds in growing crops as well as on fallow ground, day or night, this technology will execute precise targeted product placement down to the individual plant level.

In addition to the environmental benefits, targeted spraying will help enhance farmer profitability by only spraying the herbicide where needed. This makes the use of more efficient herbicides affordable allowing for much better weed control. Where optimal herbicides are already used, the smart sprayer provides a volume and cost reduction.

The initial concept is being evaluated on a Fendt Rogator sprayer in Europe with plans to extend to North America in 2022.

Seth Crawford, senior vice president and general manager, Precision Ag and Digital for AGCO, said: “Farmers have long been searching for innovative ways to minimise chemical usage and reduce passes through the field to achieve their crop protection goals.

Combined with the potential for further regulatory pressure, we believe this collaborative spraying effort advances our farmer-first focus and is further evidence that we will work with the best-in-class partners to serve farmers’ needs.

“This effort is aimed at validating targeted spraying solutions, delivering a reduction in product use to achieve the same results as broadcast spraying in both pre- and post-emergence with the flexibility of spraying day or night,” he said.

Coupled with AGCO’s application equipment expertise, Bosch brings capabilities in hardware, machine learning and artificial intelligence as well as digital services.

Xarvio Digital Farming Solutions provides an automated, real-time, in field agronomic decision-making engine for weed management and crop optimization.

Raven Applied Technology adds it is committed to sprayer efficacy and operational efficiencies that further enable precision control of chemicals for targeted spraying applications.

The combined power of the technologies that this collaboration is focused to deliver will empower farmers to drive greater efficiency in their operations while helping to protect the environment through reduced chemical usage in line with AGCO’s commitment to providing farmer-focused solutions to sustainably feed the world.

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Chris McCullough is a freelance multi-media journalist based in Northern Ireland and specialises in all aspects of agriculture. He has spent the past 18 years travelling the globe hunting for the best stories in food, farming and politics. He has reported extensively from overseas, mostly throughout Europe but also from USA, Canada, India, Australia and African countries on various topics. He has won a number of awards for his photos and journalism and is always on the lookout for his next exclusive.

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