Sima 2022: John Deere debuts spot spraying kit

The spot-spraying market is hotting up, with John Deere the latest company to put its system into field-scale European trials – five years on from its acquisition of US specialist Blue River.

See and Spray “Select” – the first and most basic iteration of the system – will seek out green weeds on stubbles and administer a dose of chemical through individual nozzles.

See also: Scots inventor goes contracting with home-made spot-sprayer

It will initially be available on the firm’s Netherlands-built R900-series trailed sprayers, which have now clocked up 120,000ha in tests and apparently reduced herbicide use by approximately 70% compared with a blanket, fence-to-fence approach.

Cameras and processors on the more sophisticated “Ultimate” version can identify weeds to species level and target them in a growing crop.

It is currently being tested in the US and includes the capacity to carry two different chemical mixes on board.

According to Deere, this integration demonstrates the advantage it has over makers of retrofit spot-spraying kits.

Similarly, it says it can get away with employing only one processor on the sprayer to deal with information from cameras fitted at 1m intervals along the boom, which is significantly fewer than the competition – minimising the number of components exposed to chemical and limiting the weight on the boom.

However, the company remains stubbornly tight-lipped about the inner workings of the system and is currently looking to secure a patent for its technology.

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