Greeneye Technology has struck a deal with Farmers Business Network (FBN) to participate in its 2022 On-Farm Field Trials program, the companies announced this week. Greeneye is beginning this year with the commercial introduction of its AI-enabled (artificial intelligence) precision spraying technology and expects its association with FBN will speed delivery of its technology to market.
FBN is an independent ag tech platform and farmer-to-farmer network with 33,000 members who farm 81 million acres. FBN's main offices are in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and San Carlos, California.
The Tel Aviv, Israel-based Greeneye announced last fall its intention to launch its unique precision-spraying technology this spring with "dozens" of Midwest farmer cooperators -- most in Illinois and Iowa. The Greeneye and FBN effort will focus on southeast Nebraska with an undetermined number of farmers.
Greeneye and FBN will offer farmers who are participating in the On-Farm Fields program a specific and customized herbicides program that will be applied with the Greeneye system.
Nadav Bocher, Greeneye Technology CEO explained, "We are not committed to a specific herbicides manufacturer or brand; we (select) the crop protection products with only one consideration and that is to deliver the best efficacy possible."
Greeneye's goal, he continued, is to "massively reduce (farmers') cost of herbicides and get much better efficacy rates that ultimately translates into improving productivity. (What) we're looking to do is offer a package that gives farmers access to the best products in the market and apply them precisely with our system."
Greeneye is an aftermarket system, entirely agnostic to the machine it's mounted to. It can be integrated onto any brand or size of commercial sprayer. It is a dual-spraying system with two lines of nozzles enabling farmers to apply residual herbicides on a broadcast basis while applying non-residual herbicides precisely on weeds. Cameras mounted directly onto the sprayer capture images at a rate of 40 frames per second, enabling rapid detection and classification of weeds down to the species level, Greeneye said.
Utilizing Greeneye's proprietary data sets and algorithms, the system calculates the amount of herbicide required and sprays it directly onto the weeds, leaving nearby crops unaffected.
Precision spraying can be carried out at the same travel speed as broadcast spraying, 20 kilometers per hour (12.4 miles per hour), working day or night. The company said its Greeneye in-field visioning system reduces chemical usage by 78%, reduces herbicide costs by 50% -- those with an 95.7% accuracy rate in treating weeds.
"We (also) can offer multiple insights to farmers, not just about weeds but multiple other issues in the field" down to the plant level, Bocher said. Next-generation Greeneye technology will be capable of applying fungicides and micronutrients, the company promises.
FBN's On-Farm Field Trials Program was created to help product developers connect directly with farmers.
"We're taking this first step this year to do these on-farm trials/demos. We're really excited about that and optimistic for what could come after that," said Matthew Meisner, vice president of R&D and data science at FBN. "We don't know exactly what that will look like yet. I would say at a high level, though, our mission and goal are to bring products and services to our members that help them be more efficient, more profitable, more successful."
For 2022, Greeneye is employing a "spraying as a service" approach, commitments fulfilled by a Greeneye fleet of machines. Next year will be different. "We have significant pre-orders for 2023 for farmers who want to retrofit their machines. Greeneye is also working with commercial sprayers that Bocher said, "have fleets of machines providing customer application services at scale."
Greeneye technology has caught the attention of investors. In December 2021, Greeneye closed a $22 million funding round led by international venture capital firm, JVP, and including investments from Syngenta and AGCO.
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