The start of a new year always brings us the CES 2023 technology show in Las Vegas, and there we have become accustomed to John Deere announcing ground-breaking (or could it be ground-saving) farming technology solutions. Readers will be interested to learn of more precision ag technology being developed by the agricultural machinery manufacturer, this time in the shape of ‘ExactShot’ – a new robotic seed planter. The technology will, the firm claims, reduce fertiliser application by up to 60%.
Travelling at a speed of 10 miles per hour, ExactShot can sow 30 seeds per second, each of them coated in fertiliser only as each seed is planted, rather than applying a continuous flow of fertiliser to the entire row of seeds. The technology uses a sensor to register when each individual seed is in the process of going into the soil. As this occurs, a robot sprays about 0.2 ML of fertiliser directly onto the seed.
The reduction in fertiliser application will cut costs for farmers and avoid feeding unwanted weed seeds that might have positioned themselves naturally in surrounding top soil. It will also help decrease the amount of fertiliser run-off entering into nearby waterways – something that is an environmental concern.
“Precision is key in agriculture because we’re operating in huge quantities of acres and plants per acre.” said Deanna Kovar, the Vice President of Production and Precision Agriculture Production Systems. “Eventually, we will literally treat every plant on an acre of a field differently based on what we’re learning through our computer vision and machine-learning tech.“
Deere estimates that across the U.S. corn crop, ExactShot could save over 93 million gallons of starter fertiliser annually.