Small Robot Company (SRC) is rolling out its Per Plant Farming service to 50 farms following a pilot that has shown it can reduce herbicide applications by 77% and fertiliser by 15%.
The Per Plant Farming service uses intelligence from the Tom monitoring robot to identify weed density and treat only problem areas.
SRC’s Tom monitoring robot scans the crop to a level of detail that identifies individual plants, gathering data on plant and weed distribution to determine the optimum treatment path. Tom can successfully identify all the wheat plants, determining precise plant counts, as well as broadleaf weeds. With a survey speed of 2.2ha/hr, Tom gathers 15,000 images from its cameras, or 40Gb of per plant intelligence, for every hectare.
The service will be rolled out in “Service Pods” of up to six local farmers. They will share the use of a Tom robot to create treatment maps, and use existing sprayer equipment to reduce costs and inputs. Tom will accurately geolocate and analyse data on every plant in the field, and this will be made available to farmers using Wilma, SRC’s AI Advice Engine.
This means farmers can try out the service on as little as 20ha, without a costly machinery outlay.
The new service offering will include:
- Winter wheat crop count and Per Plant visualisation
- Weed detection, geolocation and per plant imagery
- Glyphosate treatment
- Herbicide treatment
- Fertiliser treatment
Future services currently in development or trials include robotic non-chemical weeding; disease identification and fungicide treatment sprayer export; soil sampling and insights; and grass weed classification, including blackgrass.
SRC will take plant density information, augmenting this with other metrics, such as biomass assessment, soil insights, physiology, tiller count, growth stage and weather, to support decisions on when and how much fertiliser to apply, and exactly where it’s needed, optimising plant nutrition.