Fotenix and Small Robot Company are part of a collaboration devising a new method for the precision application of fungicides and biopesticides. Both the companies have appeared at REAP and Small Robot will be exhibiting in REAP2021.
SprayBot is a three year feasibility study funded through the Innovate UK Smart Grants fund (November 2020 call). It will investigate how combining early disease detection techniques such as imaging provided by Fotenix and robotic machinery provided by Small Robot Company can be used to implement targeted ‘variable rate’ applications of fungicides and biopesticides.
This will involve detecting and mapping crop disease and then applying product at a variable rate to small areas of the crop. In the future, this could also extend to an individual plant or even leaf.
Variable rate application of fungicides and biopesticides
Sam Watson Jones, co-founder of Small Robot Company, said: “Microspraying could be game-changing for the industry. Pressure is increasing from regulators, leaving farmers short of options. SprayBot could enable a new generation of spot treatment chemicals, reduce costs, and significantly reduce the impact on biodiversity.
“Up to 95% of chemicals are wasted in the current farming system. Unfortunately, if you treat the whole field the same, waste is inevitable. Robotic precision application technology will be both economically and environmentally sustainable. The best of both worlds.”
Dr Charles Veys, Managing Director at Fotenix, agrees: “SprayBot brings together the latest in disease profiling alongside automated platforms, which close the loop from early detection to impactful treatment, bringing the savings to both the farm’s bottom line and its environmental footprint.”
The consortium combines disease forecasting and diagnostics from Newcastle University, crop imaging and analytics from Fotenix, spray application from Silsoe Spray Application Unit, and autonomous farm robotics from Small Robot Company.
See us at REAP 2021!
REAP 2021: Changing Time(s) for Agriculture – 10th November 2021
Imagine a world where agriculture is not constrained by time. The ability to manage and manipulate time is increasing and REAP 2021 will explore the advances in technology and breakthroughs in science that is making this possible.
REAP brings together people from across the agri-tech ecosystem who believe that innovation is the engine for change. The conference bridges the gap between producer needs and technology solutions and showcases exciting agri-tech start-ups.