Preliminary Trial: The WeedSeeker

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This was presented to Pennsylvania tree fruit growers. It is a summary of our preliminary data from one field season of working with the WeedSeeker.

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Preliminary Trial: The WeedSeeker

  1. 1. Preliminary Trial: The WeedSeeker® Primary Investigators: Tom Kon, Alex Leslie, Cody Musselman, Russell Rohrbaugh
  2. 2. The Product  Purpose: Reduction of herbicide use in locations that have a low to moderate weed density (spot treatment)  NTech Industries, Inc.  Up to an 80 % reduction in herbicide use*  Will pay for itself in 1 year* * These are statements that NTech makes on its website
  3. 3. Controller & Sensors
  4. 4. How it Works  LED light source projects light onto the ground – about 2ft from the ground  Light that is reflected from the target (hopefully some Canadian thistle) is captured by a detector  The sensor determines if the reflected light matches that of green plants  If a green plant is present, a solenoid valve is triggered and the nozzle fires
  5. 5. Objective  To determine the efficiency, and efficacy of the WeedSeeker® - Determine the chemical and dollar savings associated with the WeedSeeker® technology - Quantify the efficacy of the system
  6. 6. Location and Plots  Conducted in 07’ high density Fuji and Honeycrisp Planting at FREC (8 rows)  1 Plot = 42 ft x 2 ft  32 Plots Total  16 low density, 16 moderate density  The 07' planting was pooled into 2 larger plots based on weed cover: Low density and high density (a plot consists of a 10 tree section from trellis post to trellis post)
  7. 7. Means of Analysis  Compare water usage of the WeedSeeker® in low weed density plots in the OFF (Flush) and ON position  Repeat for the moderate weed density plots  Calculate % savings and apply costs of herbicides to the model
  8. 8. Estimated Herbicide Savings Weed Weed Gallons TRT Density Seeker Used DIFF gal % Savings 1 LOW OFF 3.10 2 LOW ON 0.55 2.55 82.23% 3 MOD OFF 3.10 4 MOD ON 1.55 1.55 50.00%
  9. 9. Cash Savings per Treated Acre Gallons per Cost per Weed Weed treated Treated TRT Density Seeker Acre Acre 1 LOW OFF 50.2 $42.67 2 LOW ON 8.9 $7.57 3 MOD OFF 50.2 $42.67 4 MOD ON 25.1 $21.34
  10. 10. Cost of the WeedSeeker®  Single Hooded 2ft Boom (SB102): $4,200  Single Hooded 3ft Boom (SB103): $5,460  Model 650 Sensor without a valve cartridge: $850  Valve Cartridge: $200
  11. 11. Notes About Use  Consistency of Speed  Pump & Nozzle Size  Warm-up Time / Soil Calibration  Weed Height  Moss & Fallen Apples  Sensor Durability  Double Boom Savings on Fuel
  12. 12. When will you use a herbicide in this fancy machine?  PreliminaryTrials were conducted with Gramoxone and Prowl, however, the results were inconclusive
  13. 13. In Summary  Strong possibility for tremendous savings in weed management – up to 80%  In the offseason, further research will be conducted to sync the speed of the ATV and the WeedSeeker  USDA-NRCS EQIP  Cost Share  Stay Tuned
  14. 14. Acknowledgements  Freeman Showers, Terry Salada  My fellow investigators: Alex, Cody, & Russell  Dr. Jim Schupp, Dr. Tara Baugher, Katie Hess- Reichard, Edwin Winzeler, Dr. Katie Ellis  Our friends at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute: Sanjiv Singh, Marcel Bergeman, Ben Grocholsky, Reuben Dise  Photographs by Evan Moore, and Tom Kon  Funding provided by USDA CSREES Specialty Crop Research Initiative for Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops
  15. 15. Questions??

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