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Why Greeneye Technology is teaming up with Farmers Business Network

Collaboration will help farmers better customize their herbicide packages, say company officials.

Greeneye Technology and Farmers Business Network (FBN) are teaming up to test Greeneye’s precision spraying system in FBN’s 2022 On-Farm Field Trials Program. The field trials, which will be conducted in Nebraska, will help support Greeneye Technology’s launch in the U.S. this spring, where it is contracted to work with dozens of Midwestern farmers before increasing availability to farmers in other states in 2023.

Double-Pronged Approach 

Greeneye Technology uses artificial intelligence in its precision spraying technology to not only distinguish between crops and weeds, but also classify weeds down to the species level. It’s taking a double-pronged approach with its precision spraying technology, says Nadav Bocher, Greeneye Technology CEO. 

“One way farmers use precision spraying is to reduce their costs and increase profitability,” Bocher says. “At the same time, we think there is an equally attractive opportunity not just to reduce [herbicide] usage and increase profitability, but also to increase efficacy.” 

Enter FBN. “We think it’s a perfect fit because they have built a fantastic reputation as a market leader, with its robust distribution channel for selling inputs,” says Bocher. 

That will allow Greeneye Technology to work together with FBN to help develop ways to customize herbicide programs for farmers, he adds.

“From our perspective, we are constantly trying to find new technologies to help our farmer-members be more efficient, more profitable, and have more choice,” says Matt Meisner, FBN vice president of R&D and data science. “One of the ways we do that is through our on-farm R&D (Research & Development) program where we partner with leading technology developers to test their technologies with FBN growers on their farms. This is not a lab test study, not a greenhouse test, not a small plot research farm, but actual testing under realistic conditions on actual commercial farms. We also get powerful data on how technologies work under actual environments where they’re going to be used.”

Green-on-Green Spraying 

Greeneye Technology’s precision spraying system distinguishes between crops and weeds (green-on-green), and also classifies weeds down to the species level. To do so, it has collected millions of images used to train its algorithms that reflect variable field conditions.

Bocher says Greeneye’s artificial intelligence-enabled technology can detect and spray weeds between crops (green on green) with 95.7% accuracy at commercial travel speed. Bocher adds the Greeneye system was proven in field trials to reduce herbicide use by 78% and reduce costs by more than 50% on average compared with traditional broadcast spraying. 

Greeneye Technology also aims its precision spraying technology toward existing sprayers. “Our system is entirely machine agnostic,” says Bocher. “We have implemented our system on the top four brands — John Deere, Hagie, Case IH, and Ro-Gator.”

Why Precision Spraying Will Change Herbicide Selection

“From a farmer standpoint, the most fundamental change is to rethink what product I’m using,” says Bocher. “I [a farmer] don’t have the constraints that I have had to spray 100% of a field [via broadcasting]. I can now use more effective chemistry, adding more modes of action to my herbicide program, and be much more effective with the way I manage resistance in a field. I can have more complex herbicides in a program, which was not affordable when broadcasting was my only alternative.”

Another potential change concerns dicamba, which has generated off-target movement concerns, says Bocher.

The system also is equipped with a dual spraying system that allows broadcasting to simultaneously occur with targeted spraying. This enables a preemergence residual chemical to be applied if needed along with a postemergence herbicide, Bocher says. 

Being able to detect which weeds are present in a field enables weed maps to be made, which farmers can use to make better herbicide purchases, Bocher says. 

The technology also has promise to expand its capabilities for precision applications of fungicides, insecticides, and micronutrients, Bocher adds. Sprayers with cameras and other data collection tools can also collect huge amounts of information used to make better agronomic decisions.

Greeneye Technology officials have not revealed a price for the system but say it will provide a return on investment in up to 18 months. “This depends on how much the farmer currently spends on herbicides,” Bocher says.

Both companies will hold multiple field days this summer showcasing the technology. “We think this is the best way for farmers to interact and to actually see the system running in the field,” he says. 

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