Spot sprayer ready for tests

The prototype of a vision-guided spot sprayer, designed to apply herbicides selectively to volunteer potatoes in carrot crops, will be ready for field trials this season.

The machine is being developed by a HortLINK consortium funded by the HDC and the Potato Council. The system is similar to that used by the in-row hoe. It distinguishes between carrot and potato foliage, and operates a precisely timed, very narrow angled spray to target potato plants.

"Although carrot and potato foliage is more challenging for the system than the earlier trial of onion and potato, we have managed to keep carrot crop damage at lower levels than when we ran small-scale trials in onion crops," said project leader Nick Tillett.

The machine was invented following the loss of selective herbicides for volunteer potato control.


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