Designing precision spraying technologies for 3D crops

One of the challenges facing European agriculture is the deployment of technologies that enable farmers to be more precise when applying crop protection products.

Devices that facilitate real-time control of application parameters, adjust volume rate based on forward speed, ensure traceability of applications, or interpret a recommendation map, are all invaluable tools for farmers. There is a pressing need to promote their widespread adoption to empower farmers with enhanced precision and efficiency in their agricultural practices.

Unfortunately, few products and technologies meet the requirements for precision and reliability.

The French Wine and Vine Institute (IFV) collaborated with its partners from 2021 to 2023 to validate and provide French winegrowers with cutting-edge technical solutions for precision spraying and variable-rate application (VRA).

The solution proposed by Waatic was promising, providing diverse options to assist growers in enhancing application precision. In 2022, the device underwent testing on a 15-hectare farm over the entire spraying season. However, the utilisation of the device on the multirow sprayer used for the trials encountered several operational issues, both in software and hardware, which the manufacturer was unable to rectify. These challenges highlight the reality that companies within the agricultural sector often grapple with limitations in scale, making it challenging to deliver reliable and versatile technologies suitable for various types of machinery.

In 2023, we conducted tests on a novel system for regulating flow rate based on forward speed. The GEOSYSTEM 250 from GEOLINE, equipped with a propeller flowmeter, was employed for this purpose. This effort has allowed us to compile a comprehensive review, encompassing the benefits, limitations, and an examination of usage conditions and maintenance requirements for these technologies. This thorough analysis aims to ensure their sustained effectiveness in the medium and long term.