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John Deere has introduced ‘See & Spray Ultimate’, a factory-installed system available for the model year 2023 John Deere 410R, 412R, and 612R sprayers that enables targeted spraying of non-residual herbicide on weeds among corn, soybean, and cotton plants

deere seesprayAccording to Deere, the See & Spray solution’s targeted spraying helps farmers reduce their non-residual herbicide use by more than two thirds. (Image source: John Deere)

Franklin Peitz, marketing manager for John Deere, said, "We've been on a technology journey with our customers since broadcast spraying. We moved to a zone-focus with section control and then advanced to individual row control with ExactApply. We're excited to optimise each individual plant using See & Spray's artificial intelligence and machine learning."

See & Spray Ultimate's targeted spray technology was designed by Blue River Technology, a wholly-owned subsidiary of John Deere. Cameras and processors mounted on John Deere's new carbon-fibre truss-style boom utilise the combined power of computer vision and machine learning to detect weeds from crop plants. There is one camera mounted every one meter across the width of the boom, which equates to 36 cameras on a 120-foot boom scanning more than 2,100 square feet at once. The accuracy of the target spray is also enhanced by BoomTrac™ Ultimate, the new, industry-leading boom height control system from John Deere.

"While operating at up to 12 mph, See & Spray Ultimate's targeted spray technology can help farmers reduce their non-residual herbicide use by more than two thirds and maintain a hit rate comparable to traditional spraying," said Peitz. "For farmers, this decreased herbicide use can significantly lower herbicide costs, reduce tendering stops, and helps them cover more acres per day."

Another key component of See & Spray Ultimate is the split tank with dual-product capability, which helps farmers better control weeds and battle herbicide resistance.  "We executed several strip trials, and in one strip trial in Illinois soybeans we compared the weed control results of a broadcast, single tank mix to See & Spray Ultimate's dual product solution system," Peitz said. 

"The single tank mix had three modes of action and with dual product we were able to add a fourth mode of action that wouldn't be as effective with a one tank mix due to antagonism. The See & Spray Ultimate dual product pass with the fourth mode of action resulted in 7% better weed control than the broadcast pass, providing better yield protection for the farmer.  Through the addition of another mode of action, chances for herbicide resistance development are also reduced, adding another layer of yield protection for the future," he furthered. 

Two tank options are available with capacities 1,200 and 1,000 gallons. The 1,200-gallon option is split into a 450-gallon tank for targeted spraying and a 750-gallon tank for broadcast spraying. The 1,000-gallon option is split into a 350-gallon tank for targeted spraying and a 650-gallon tank broadcast spraying.

Peitz said that farmers can apply a residual broadcast application and non-residual targeted application in a pre-emergence pass or targeted spray only as a clean-up pass. This also allows farmers to rethink their fungicide and liquid fertiliser passes. 

John Deere MY23 Sprayers come factory equipped with JDLink connectivity, plus a new integrated StarFire 7000 GPS receiver, and Generation 4 CommandCenter display. The StarFire 7000 receiver builds upon the success of its predecessors and brings to market a new type of RTK signal, SF-RTK. SF-RTK is the easiest RTK solution to use relying solely on satellite communication. These technologies combined to enable the operator to reduce overlap and maximise inputs all with less stress.

As See & Spray Ultimate travels across the field, the Generation 4 Display allows the user to analyse savings by ground data and spray quantities. After a pass is made, a map showing weed pressure within each field is available in John Deere Operations Center. This enables a farmer to compare the weed map to their yield map and make decisions about their weed-control program. Peitz said these analytical tools provide insights to make more-informed field management decisions year after year.

"From a sustainability standpoint See & Spray Ultimate can help farmers use less herbicide and decrease opportunities for drift, and that's better for everyone," Peitz concluded.