Goldacres’ weed detection system ready for roll out

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Goldacres’ weed detection system is ready for rollout after years of painstaking research.

The Weedetect system can be fitted to Goldacres’ G6 Crop Cruiser sprayer

Nearly two years of behind-the-scenes work has paid off for Victorian sprayer manufacturer Goldacres, with its weed detection system Weedetect evolving to a point where it can be rolled out successfully.

Designed for targeted weed spraying, the time-consuming work has been in building a database of weeds for the system to recognise and ultimately eliminate.

Goldacres’ sales and marketing operations manager Stephen Richards says Weedetect has the potential to allow ‘green on green’ spraying rather than just the traditional ‘green on brown’, which will allow the system to be used year-round.

"Traditional weed detecting cameras pick up chlorophyll, the green colour in plants, whereas you can’t run that system in crops because it would just pick up and spray everything that is green," he says.

"This system is different – it’s an actual video camera that is feeding information back to the system about what is a weed that needs to be sprayed.

"It's got the potential to do green on green spraying because it learns the algorithms and it has a heap of different images in its learning logic and says ‘this is what I need to spray’.

"You can spray green on brown and then later in the season spray green on green and the potential chemical saving with this system is just massive."

Weedetect is available as an option on Goldacres’ G6 Crop Cruiser and G8 Super Cruiser sprayers.

It involves 12 video cameras being positioned three metres apart, with 10 on the boom and one on either side of the front of the chassis.

These cameras are constantly looking 4m ahead, and an angled LED light can be fitted below each camera to allow for spraying at night or in poor light.

Richards says the development of Weedetect has been an ongoing process, with data having been acquired for between eight and 10 hours per day throughout the 10 weeks of the main crop cycle.

"The idea behind it works really well but it has to learn all these algorithms and to get enough information into the system to make it all work, you have to go through a whole life cycle of a crop and the weeds in the crop and get photos from every different angle," he says.

"Different states and different countries have different weeds so we’ve had to teach the system about weeds grown in each area.

"It just takes time to get all the data to make the system accurate because you’ve really only got the growing season to do it."

Rather than a glitzy launch ‘moment’, Goldacres is taking the slow and steady approach to the release of Weedetect.

"We don’t want to put a system out that a customer gets and is having trouble and they can’t get their dealer to support it," Richards says.

"We want the customer to be looked after so we’ve got to make sure the dealer is trained before they can sell it.

"It’s probably a different approach but we are very adamant that we want to make sure the customers are supported properly so we want to make sure the dealers are properly trained."

Enquiries can be made to Goldacres, and G6 and G8 sprayers are now available with Weedetect factory-fitted.

Future weeds added to the database will be available for existing users through software updates.

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