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Analysis results of the agronomic test by KWS

Last September we presented the project Future Live – Robotic Weeding in the field from our partner KWS. The analysis report from the KWS experts has just come out, giving us the opportunity to share it with you.

Localisation: 37154 Northeim, Germany
Trial period: 22nd June to 7th July 2020
Surface area of the plot: 0.33 ha
Herbicide : 50% MaxxProGoltixTitan, Stemat, Debut

Plant density analysis method

In order to identify and quantify the self-propagating plants, 42 0.25m2 plots were selected by taking a total of 126 images. The number of plants and self-propagating plants were counted for each image; before and after the robot was used. (details in the table below)

Land condition

Seedlings: end of May 2020

Growth conditions: Rapid growth of the plants (sugar beet and weeds) because of the high temperatures and rain in June.

Herbicide was applied late to the plants because of the heavy rain, the plants are relatively big (BBH>17).

Quantities of weeds per 10m2

Main results of the trial on the terrain

A 78.4% reduction in quantity of herbicide compared to conventional spraying

The treatment did not reduce the number of sugar beet plants in the middle of the field (about 110k plants/ha). Because of unfavourable weather conditions, it was not possible to carry out the second spraying correctly. The study, therefore, concerns only the first treatment.

Strong points and weak points of AVO

Strengths

  • Saving herbicide
  • 4-wheel drive
  • Adjustable algorithm to suit specific needs
  • Less sensitive to wind than conventional spraying systems

Weaknesses

  • The more weeds there are, the less you save on herbicide
  • Only concerns the herbicides that are active on leaves
  • The speed of work is much slower and the surface covered is much smaller, compared to a conventional tractor

General Conclusions

  1. Legal restrictions or efficacy can widen the scope for the use of high-precision spraying robots (EU Green Market)
  2. Detection and spraying function well, but are in competition with tried and tested, low-priced, conventional spraying methods
  3. Setting up the system on a conventional spraying machine would improve the performance and the cost-effectiveness analysis of the sector for farmers
  4. Several vats with different active ingredients could save even more herbicide and improve weed resistance management
  5. Optimal terrain conditions for use of the robot
    >Number of weeds small to average
    >Good conditions for treatment with herbicides
    >An appropriately sized field