The Worldwide Tree Fruit Affiliation’s tour of Nova Scotia in July included greater than fashionable orchards: high-tech equipment shared the highlight. Attendees noticed varied machines on show at tour stops, together with an autonomous sprayer, container trailers and precision crop load administration expertise.
Within the Crisp Growers orchards, guests noticed an indication of the AgBot autonomous sprayer, manufactured by Dutch firms AgXeed and Hol Spraying Techniques. The AgBot is at the moment used as a sprayer in orchards, however over time it’s going to autonomously carry out different duties reminiscent of mowing, flail chopping and mechanical weeding, mentioned Sean Bartlett of Present Agro, an Ontario tools seller and AgBot distributor in North America.
Bartlett introduced the tools for the demonstration. He mentioned there are at the moment three AgBots working in Canadian orchards and a few in European orchards.
The AgBot is totally autonomous, powered by a 75-horsepower electrical motor, and guided by GPS. Agromanager GPS modules keep correct information of spraying, right down to tree stage. Sensors consider the scale of the quilt and modify the nozzles accordingly. The AgBot, geared up with a backup digital camera and lidar, stops if it detects an impediment or if the entrance bumper is pressed, Bartlett mentioned.
ProduceTech, a Quebec-based tools distributor, displayed some machines at Van Meekeren Farms. The tour noticed an indication of the GOtrack Auto Drive system, a bolt-on equipment that turns a tractor into an autonomous machine.
ProduceTech proprietor Frederic Lavoie mentioned the Auto Drive, designed by Polish firm GOtrack, can carry out a number of duties within the orchard, together with spraying and mowing.
Drive the tractor alongside the designated route as soon as and Auto Drive information all the pieces. Subsequent time you simply need to press play and the tractor will observe the recorded route. Auto Drive additionally controls the brakes, PTO and sprayer valves. Operators can modify the route and pace.
ProduceTech additionally displayed the Darwin CF 105, a container filling and orchard platform. Whereas the employees decide, they place the apples on the machine’s conveyor belt, which deposits them in a container. An accompanying three-level container trailer shops empty containers and deposits full containers on the bottom. The conveyor will also be eliminated, turning the CF 105 right into a platform that may carry out a number of duties within the orchard. The platform can accommodate as much as six staff or eight drones, due to a partnership with robotics firm Tevel. Related by cables, the drones decide up apples with a suction cup and place them on the conveyor belt. The drone system continues to be within the pre-commercial part, Lavoie mentioned.
The IFTA tour additionally heard updates from Ontario firm Vivid Machines, which manufactures vehicle-mounted digital digital camera programs for exact crop load administration. Co-founder Jenny Lemieux mentioned Vivid launched a brand new model of a fruit set dashboard, which takes knowledge from the digital camera system and immediately predicts fruit set. In addition they started making yield predictions quickly after thinning and are working carefully with packers and entrepreneurs on the information.
The corporate plans to launch a brand new, extra highly effective model of its digital camera system, the Vivid XV3, in 2024, Lemieux mentioned.
—by Matt Milkovich