F A C T O R Y SMARTPHONES IN INDIA www.foodtechnology.co.nz 27 WEED KILLER DRONES Blasting weeds from drone-mounted lasers will assist farmers in overcoming an expensive headache in a new ‘map and zap’ project. Scientists from AgResearch will lead a million-dollar programme exploring the use of drones that could get rid of the $1.6 billion problem in an environmentally friendly way. A team of experts will mount specialist cameras on the drone or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that can firstly identify the weeds based on their unique chemical signatures and how they reflect light, and then precisely map their locations using GPS, programme leader Dr Kioumars Ghamkhar says. From there, smart spraying could hone in and damage the weed without affecting the environment around it. Current methods for tackling weeds are expensive and time-consuming, and often involve chemicals that impact on crops, soil quality or water sources. “We want to develop something that could be an efficient option for users such as farmers, regional councils and the Department of Conservation.” The effectiveness of lasers against plants has been tested overseas before, but only in the lab. TankJet® Tank Cleaners Tank cleaning nozzles, spray balls and cleaning-in-place systems for tanks up to 30m in diameter The Experts in Spray Technology No other supplier can match our extensive range of spray nozzles and accessories. We have a full range of spray solutions that can help you optimise your operations whilst minimising waste. Whether you’re spraying viscous coatings, sanitising conveyors, spray drying coffee or milk, applying antimicrobials or cleaning food processing tanks – we have the answer. PulsaJet® Spray Nozzles Minimal misting and accurate spray placement for coating, conveyor spraying and moistening applications WindJet® Spray Nozzles Compressed air nozzles, air amplifiers and air knife products that reduce operating costs and noise GunJet® Spray Guns High, medium and low pressure options for clean-up and wash-down operations Spraying Systems NZ Ltd 12E Saturn Place, Rosedale, Auckland 0632 Freecall: 0800 777 291 email@example.com www.spray.co.nz www.tankjet.com FT435 Indian subsistence farmers are leading the world in artificial intelligence by using GPS and an app called Plantix to identify why their crops are sick. Nearly every household in India has a smartphone, and farmers are keen to use the app in their Telugu and Hindi languages. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics digital agriculture scientist Srikanth Rupavatharam says farmers can take a picture of their crops and then upload the image with GPS locations to cloudbased Plantix. The app identifies the crop type in the image and spits out a diagnosis of a disease, pest or nutrient deficiency – with a success rate of more than 90%. Plantix also aids farmers by recommending targeted biological or chemical treatments for ailing plants, reducing the volume of agrochemicals in groundwater and waterways that can result from overuse or incorrect application of herbicides and pesticides. Rupavatharam says Plantix is based on deep learning, one of today’s most powerful AI tools.
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