11 September 2000
Robot hoe to reduce pesticide use

By FWi staff

AN INTELLIGENT hoe which can locate and chop down weeds is being hailed as the latest weapon to reduce pesticide use by farmers.

Professor John Marchant of the Silsoe Research Institute said the autonomous weed remover would be available next year for several thousand pounds, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The device resembles an 18ft rake, with weeds being cut by tines dangling from a long boom attached to the back of a tractor.

The hoe, developed by Garford Engineering and Robydome Electronics, spots crop rows using video cameras and image analysis software.

It can distinguish between barley and wild oat weeds and only remove the latter, say developers.