John Deere and USQ partner for precision spray advancements

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A technology three years in the making could reshape the farming landscape around the globe and lead to a reduction in input costs and decrease of environmental impacts.

The See and Spray will target specific weeds in fallow ground and will be available on all John Deere 400 and 600 series sprayers

The development, a collaboration between John Deere and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), is a vision-based precision spray technology which aims at detecting and removing weeds in fallowed ground.

See & Spray was first developed as an experimental technology by USQ three years ago and was subsequently tested by John Deere across farms in the United States, Australia and Canada.

The technology works through integrated cameras to detect green plants which then automatically trigger a concentrated spray of herbicide on the weed.

The targeted-spray solution also has an ability to switch to a traditional, high broadcast sprayer should the number of weeds in a field increase. The See and Spray can be switched between the two without leaving the sprayer cab making it effectively a two-in-one sprayer.

Launched last week, the See and Spray is available on new John Deere 400 and 600 series sprayers and can save up to 77 per cent of herbicide input costs.

USQ Centre of Agricultural Engineering director Craig Baillie, says the technology is yet another example of how Australians can be at the forefront of new innovations in the AgTech space.

"The University of Southern Queensland has a long history of focusing research on local farming issues that have relevance to Australian farmers and connecting this with large overseas markets," Baillie says.

"We work with industry and focus on solving problems through engineering solutions that will change farming practices. Our research is outcome-driven. This is the heart of what our team does.

"Industry collaborations such as this assist to sustain the development of future technologies and products which will transform agricultural industries over the years to come."

John Deere Australia/New Zealand managing sirector, Luke Chandler says he is confident in the See and Spray's potential. 

"We are delighted to have collaborated with the University of Southern Queensland to develop industry-leading innovation here in Australia that has potential to deliver positive and impactful changes for farmers globally," Chandler says.

"The path to greater efficiency, profitability and sustainability begins in the paddock.

"It is through these types of collaborations that we can create practical, simple-to-use tools and technologies that save time and input costs, and reduce impact on the natural environment, for a higher performing farm sector."

See and Spray will be available to purchase from mid-2021. 

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