ARA continues to prove itself in versatility and efficiency. (Image source: Ecorobotix)

As the 2024 season approaches, ARA sprayers have already embarked on their inaugural missions, signaling the commencement of another year filled with promise and productivity

By utilising ARA's capabilities, farmers around the world are able to meet their evolving crop management needs. Applications of ARAs are varied and depend on the agricultural areas they are used on. For example, while ARA on the one hand, is seen in meadows and pastures in the Alpine region, it is on the other hand, used to control weeds in sugar beets and onions in Germany. The adaptability of ARA extends to crops such as lettuce, spinach, corn, chicory and much more. In addition, ARA offers green-on-green and green-on-brown capabilities to ensure effective weed control in fallow fields for optimal crop growth.

Thanks to Ecorobotix's state-of-the-art Plant-by-Plant AI software and advanced spraying capabilities, ARA is revolutionising agricultural practices and transcending geographical boundaries, with farmers eagerly embracing the technology. The practical significance of ARA ranges from precise herbicide application to targeted treatments of fungicides, insecticides, and fertilisers.

This year, Ecorobotix is gearing up to participate in the following upcoming events:

  • The Summer Convention of the National Onion Association, taking place from 25-29 June in Anchorage, Alaska
  • The Organic Produce Summit, taking place from 10-11 July in Monterey, California
  • FIRA USA 2024, taking place from 22-24 October in Woodland, Sacramento, California

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The partnership marks a significant milestone in the agriculture sector. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Orchard harvest equipment manufacturer, Flory Industries and leading orchard harvest autonomy provider, Bonsai Robotics have recently announced their collaboration to develop a product which will be unveiled at the upcoming World Ag Expo, scheduled to be held in the city of Tulare, California next year

Focusing on nut sweepers, Flory's Super V sweeper is already arguably the most efficient piece of nut harvesting equipment available today. With the integration of Bonsai's technology, it is expected to enhance the operator's productivity even more, while also reducing operational costs, and increasing sustainability in farming practices. By combining Flory's extensive experience and market presence with Bonsai's innovative technological prowess, this partnership therefore, marks a significant milestone in the agriculture sector.

"At Bonsai, we are thrilled to partner with Flory, a company that shares our vision for the future of agriculture," said CEO of Bonsai Robotics, Tyler Niday. "This collaboration allows us to bring our advanced robotics technology to a wider market, revolutionising how farming is done. The Super V sweeper is just the beginning of what we believe will be a transformative era in agricultural technology."

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Robot crowd-puller at the DLG Field Days 2022 at the Kirschgartshausen trial farm in Mannheim. (Image source: DLG)

The FarmRobotix platform celebrates premiere at the DLG Feldtage 2024, which will take place from 11-13 June at the estate Brockhof in Germany

Aimed at farmers, manufacturers, start-ups and technology providers, FarmRobotix offers an international platform farmers and experts seeking compact and comprehensive information on the latest developments in robotics, AI, automation and digital solutions in crop production. Moreover, besides the option to explore innovative technologies, the platform also offers networking and knowledge sharing opportunities to representatives from science and research as well as development engineers, investors and venture capitalists. 

With a focus on farming requirements for digital technologies, FarmRobotix plays a role in solving the challenges that lie in the application of digital and autonomous technologies in crop farming. For instance, although a plethora of digital solutions are available to farmers for performing crop cultivation tasks, each digital solution provider supplies a customised software system to use the digital tools and data. Therefore, their application requires prior knowledge on part of the user. 

This is where the FarmRobotix system comes into picture. Florian Schiller, an expert in digitalisation at the International DLG Crop Production Centre (IPZ) in Bernburg, Saxony-Anhalt, explained that the FarmRobotix platform could play a role in providing impetus in the dialogue between farmers, manufacturers and science in order to make the digital applications of different manufacturers compatible with each other. 

Schiller further explained the complexity faced by robots in crop cultivation, since the difficulty level of the tasks to be performed by agricultural robots was comparatively greater than the tasks involved in industrial production. 

DLG’s IPZ farm is part of several research projects on digitalisation and AI in crop production, including the NaLamKI project funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs. NaLamKI which stands for ‘Sustainable Agriculture with AI,’ is aimed at developing AI services for agriculture, capable of analysing data from conventional and autonomous agricultural machinery, satellites and drones, combining them in a software service platform and make the results accessible through open interfaces. 

As an associated partner in the project, the IPZ is working on the early detection of fungal diseases in wheat using AI. The aim of AI-supported detection of fungal diseases, which is being researched in the NaLamKI project, is to use multi- and hyperspectral image analysis to establish when a fungal infection has taken place in a crop. Apart from fungal pathogens however, the spectral properties of the leaf surface are influenced by a variety of external factors such as drought or plant nutrition. 

"It is therefore always crucial for AI systems that the data delivers accurate information about the properties to be recognised,” said Schiller. “Otherwise, AI models do not reflect what they are supposed to provide information about.”

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The whitepaper highlights how the development work behind Berry’s new Omni Xtra+ PE version has created a film with a comparable performance to PVC, and which can also be recycled. (Image source: Berry Global)

A new white paper from Berry Global outlines the solution to finding an alternative to traditional polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cling films for fresh food applications 

PVC has been the material of choice for many years for fresh food applications thanks to its many protective and presentation benefits. However, its complex composition makes it difficult to recycle and if even minute amounts of the material are processed with other polymers, it can render the other recyclates unusable.

The whitepaper titled: 'How Omni Xtra+ Can Drive More Recycling of Cling Films,' details the challenges that users of PVC cling films now face owing to its inability to be widely recycled and how the development work behind Berry’s new Omni Xtra+ polyethylene (PE) version has created a film with a comparable performance to PVC, and which can also be recycled.

While PE films for overwrapped trays would provide a more consistent supply of used film for recycling, the challenge has been to develop a PE film that can match the performance of a PVC version. Key to the development of OminXtra+ therefore was to develop a recyclable PE film via both kerbside and front-of-store PE waste streams that combined strength, stretchability, and excellent clarity and resistance to puncturing.

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In addition to its scientific validation, BeCrop Technology stands out for its accessibility via API connections. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Global agtech company, Biome Makers recently announced its contribution to the publication of two scientific studies validating the efficacy and reliability of the company’s revolutionary technology

These landmark papers demonstrate a significant leap forward in the field of soil health intelligence and predicting soil functionality. The first study titled 'Physicochemical properties and microbiome of vineyard soils from DOP Ribeiro (NW Spain) are influenced by agricultural management,' evaluated the impact of conventional and sustainable management systems of vineyards from DOP Ribeiro on the soil’s condition. The second study, titled 'Enrichment of putative plant growth promoting microorganisms in biodynamic compared to organic agriculture soils,' investigates regenerative versus organic agricultural soils in three locations in Germany and 21 locations in France.

Both these studies highlight the effectiveness of Biome Makers’ technology, BeCrop, and its proprietary indexes in microbial metabolism, soil bio-sustainability, while also detecting stress, nutrient deficiencies, and correlating with different management practices. The significance of these findings extends beyond Biome Makers’ own technology, by also highlighting the superiority of the soil database and intelligence over others in the market.

In addition to its scientific validation, BeCrop Technology stands out for its accessibility via API connections. This means that BeCrop's powerful soil intelligence solutions can seamlessly integrate into existing agricultural systems, enabling farmers and agricultural professionals to harness the benefits of advanced soil health assessment without disrupting their workflow.

"These papers are a testament to our commitment to transparency and scientific excellence," said Biome Makers’ Chief Science Officer and co-founder, Dr Alberto Acedo. "By opening our technology for peer review and validation, we aim to foster trust and collaboration while pushing the boundaries of soil health data and innovative technology."

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