Feeding livestock can bring with it several challenges including labour shortages, wasted feed, higher prices for smaller quantities, intake monitoring and dominant animals bullying more timid individuals.
Powered by Smart-Apply, a density-based spray system that utilises sensor technology, the machine provides horticulturalists with greater spray application.
The system utilises LIDAR sensor technology to detect the specific architecture of the canopy, which in turn creates a digital representation of the crop characteristics – including height, width, spacing and the density of each plant it passes. The digital information is then converted into a signal to each independently-controlled spray nozzle for instant application and adjustment of spray where required. This helps both reduce chemical use and achieves considerable cost savings.
Researched, developed and field-tested at the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture over the past decade, the BA Smart Sprayer has been proven to reduce spray inputs and spray loss beyond canopies.
“The system is proving effective in reducing up to 87% of airborne drift, delivering both environmental and economic sustainability,” explains John Dixon, operations manager at BA Pumps and Sprayers.
Dixon also suggests that the precision the system has significant long-term benefits for vineyards by using seasonal growth data and producing healthier plants, greater overall yields and cleaner, safer groundwater.
The system also lends itself for retrofitting to existing air blast spray equipment. It utilises an Android Tablet for display, which enables easy application. The interface allows the LIDAR sensor technology to work in tandem with GPS to determine ground speed and field position, assisting growers to gauge spray coverage and gather valuable data of their vines.
There is also the flexibility to revert to manual spraying applications if conditions require this approach.
BA Pumps and Sprayers, formerly known as Bertolini Australasia, will be conducting a series of demonstration events throughout the country to introduce the technology to New Zealand growers. Visit: https://www.basmartspray.co.nz for more details.