MOREE farmer Gerrit Kurstjens has acquired access to 3rd generation spot spraying technology developed by French start-up Bilberry through Netherlands company Agrifac.
“The technology is based on an optical camera with new gear that is basically a bit like face recognition, but instead of a face, it has a library of plants for recognition based on colour and shape,” he said.
Mr Kurstjens said he had been told the technology would work on very small weeds, and differentiate between crops and weeds, but he was waiting to see how it behaved on different backgrounds such as black soil or stubble.
If this technology does work Mr Kurstjens said it could also allow farmers to target herbicide resistant weeds with double knocks.
“The technology will remember the weeds from the previous spray and target these weeds with the next spray,” he said.
Another feature of the third generation of spot sprayers will be bringing the working width out to 48m at speeds up to 30km/hr, a feature he believes will increase uptake.
Mr Kurstjens said the technology is still unproven and required adaptation to suit Australian conditions.
He said because of this, the sprayer would be supplied to him with an operator to build the library of images required to recognised the weeds.
“It is all very new, though it has been shown to work well on smaller spray rigs overseas,” he said.
“We don’t know what sort of problems we will run into, we will have to solve them on the go.’
Mr Kurstjens hopes to take delivery of the new Agrifac sprayer with Billberry technology in January 2018.