Ag tech pioneer Greeneye Technology is reporting that its artificial intelligence-enabled, precision spraying system cut the amount of herbicides applied in postemergence applications by 87%. That result is from a field trial undertaken by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Agricultural Research Division (ARD) to benchmark the performance of the Greeneye system.
Greeneye is an aftermarket, dual-spraying product with two lines of nozzles enabling farmers to apply residual herbicides on a broadcast basis while applying non-residual herbicides precisely on weeds. It is entirely agnostic to the machine it is mounted to -- it can be integrated onto any brand or size of commercial sprayer.
Cameras mounted directly onto sprayers capture images at a rate of 40 frames per second, enabling real-time detection and classification of weeds down to the species level. Once the cameras see a weed, Greeneye's algorithms send an electric pulse to the relevant nozzle to spray the amount of herbicide required directly onto the weed, leaving nearby crops unaffected. Precision spraying can be carried out at the same travel speed as broadcast spraying -- 20 km/h (12.4 mph) -- working day or night.
Greeneye Technology announced last fall the commercial launch of its real-time spray technology.
From Greeneye's perspective, its system is highly effective. But the ag tech provider also was looking for a more widely recognized scientific stamp on its systems and products. The numbers Greeneye is quoting come from UNL research at three locations, including several weed species. UNL findings include:
-- 94% reduction in burndown herbicide use during pre-emergence spraying compared to broadcast applications.
-- 87% reduction in non-residual herbicide use during postemergence spraying compared to broadcast applications.
"The reduction in herbicides used is important, but the important question is are the applications (also) effective." Nadav Bocher, Greeneye Technology CEO, explained in an interview with DTN/Progressive Farmer. The UNL work would indicate the applications were effective, too, he said.
-- Greeneye achieved the same weed control efficacy for broadleaf weeds as broadcast applications -- 96.3% of weeds controlled.
-- Weed control on grasses was slightly better using broadcast methods -- a 93% accuracy rate for broadcast practices, compared to 89.6% with Greeneye.
Greeneye reports substantial savings with its system. According to UNL's work, total residual and non-residual herbicide costs were $40.60 per acre with Greeneye versus $105.80/acre with conventional broadcast treatments.
"I think the barrier has been around the maturity of the technology; the value was never questionable," Bocher said. "The real value of this technology is this intersection between savings and efficacy. (Farmers can) feel confident that we deliver savings and really good efficacy at the same time."
The 2022 season represents Greeneye's first commercial growing season. Greeneye worked crops in Nebraska, South Dakota and in a few areas of Iowa. It is expanding in 2023, including those three states, but also North Dakota, Kansas and Illinois. Later this year, Greeneye also will launch its technology in South America.
Greeneye has not yet revealed pricing for its system. Bocher does estimate that a 3,000-acre Midwest farmer will see a return on investment in 18 months or less.
Greeneye Technology was founded in 2017 in Tel Aviv, Israel, with the mission to develop sustainable solutions to current crop protection practices. Its founders have worked together for 15 years since serving in the Israeli special forces and head up a team with expertise in computer vision, AI, agronomy and mechanical engineering. In November 2021, the company closed a $22 million funding round led by international venture capital firm JVP, KDT and including investment from agriculture industry leaders Syngenta and AGCO.
For more about Greeneye (www.greeneye.ag) and more on precision spraying technology go to: https://www.dtnpf.com/….
Dan Miller can be reached at email@example.com
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