FarmDroid’s world-first fully automatic robot that both seeds and mechanically weeds, is still the only piece of equipment on the market performing the two operations simultaneously.
Ed Lea, farm manager at Sandfields Farm near Stratford upon Avon, purchased one from T H WHITE this summer and has been very impressed with its performance and output. Powered by solar panels, this highly innovative machine is CO2 neutral and offers zero energy costs whilst reducing the costs of drilling and weeding in an environmentally friendly way. Using a GPS signal, FarmDroid marks the placement of the crops at sowing and subsequently performs mechanical weed control, both between the rows and within the rows. The precise placement of each seed sown makes it possible to weed everything that isn’t the required crop, even before the crop germinates, thereby minimising, or completely eliminating the need for manual weed control.
In future visits, it can instantly identify what’s a weed and what is not. Unlike other field robots, FarmDroid doesn’t need banks of high-definition cameras and complex computers to identify and target weeds. The four solar panels power a battery pack and ensure up to 24 hours of daily CO2-neutral operation, and by being independently powered, the FarmDroid FD20 can work in the field throughout the entire season.
Ed farms salad crops across 2000 hectares in Warwickshire and like most farmers he’s faced the operational challenge of needing to manage rising costs. He remarked that the lack of chemistry with herbicides being withdrawn from the market and the desire to increase his carbon footprint with greener, more sustainable farming practices, coupled with a reduced labour pool brought the Farmdroid into consideration. Weighing it up against alternative power units needing seeders or hoes attached, it resulted in an attractive, value for money solution.
After a success demonstration from T H WHITE area rep Andy Moore, and the Opico team who distribute the FarmDroid in the UK, the benefits were too enticing. ‘This tech really does help me save money, not only with fuel consumption but halving the need for manual crop weeding through the use of automation. With savings in herbicides, fuel, labour and machinery costs (depreciation, maintenance, tyres, etc.) the financial argument for FarmDroid was strong – and so far so good. It’s definitely improved our operations this season’.
T H WHITE can help you explore the possibilities of obtaining grant funding to assist in buying a FarmDroid FD20 machine, so talk to your local rep today for more details or to see the FarmDroid in action.