How Weed-Killing Robots Are Destroying Agrochemical Giants

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To be a certified organic farm you must not use chemical weed control. New techniques developed for organic farming provide traditional farmers with low cost methods to achieve weed reduction goals.

Keeping up with the global food demand would be impossible without the use of pesticides. Farmers are in a constant battle against harmful invaders – or pests. The global market for pesticides is massive, worth US $100 billion to date. While there are many kinds of pests, weeds are perhaps the most diverse and devastating. Herbicides, chemicals which kill nearly every plant, account for $25 billion of the market alone. Many industrial herbicides are indiscriminate weed killers, chemicals which annihilate every plant they touch. Naturally, the chemicals would destroy all the crops as well – and they should. But agrochemical giants like Monsanto, Dow and DuPont, and Bayer among others have engineered plants able to withstand the indiscriminate chemicals – chemicals which they also engineered and developed. While current crop spraying methods with indiscriminate killers quickly eradicate weeds, many fears about exposure to crop spraying continue to circulate around the globe. There are grounds for concern, but until now, there have been few alternatives. Source: University of Sydney There are many different ways to manage pests, but most alternative solutions would fail to keep up with the global food demand. Crop spraying is effective, cheap, and fast. However, robots are providing a promising solution to assist farmers with pest control through autonomous precision weed sprayers. Pictured in the image above is one such autonomous weed-killing robot helping to change current methods of blanketing fields in harmful chemicals. Designed and engineered at the University of Sydney , the autonomous weed-killing robot uses high-precision spraying nosels to accurately spray small amounts of pesticides in concentrated areas – greatly reducing the demand for herbicide. The robots are greatly reducing the amount of herbicides necessary to rid a field of weeds. Another weed-killing robot is already roaming the fields in Switzerland, efficiently killing […]

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