14 November 2001
Auto-steer claimed to speed weeding

By Andrew Blake

AUTOMATED steerage hoeing can allow sugar-beet and other row-crop growers to weed faster and more accurately than before, according Silsoe Research Institute.

Trials with the Robydome/SRI vision guidance system, which links a computer to a forward facing camera, showed working rates of up to 11kph are possible, researcher Matthew Home told this weeks British Crop Protection Conference in Brighton.

“A two-man steerage hoe can be very accurate, so long as the operator doesnt fall asleep. But its a lot slower. The best you can expect is about 5kph.”

Automatic guidance also allows the cutting shares to be set closer to the rows without damaging the crop, he notes.