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New Invention Reduces Consumption of Pesticides by 60 per cent

Researchers from the Faculty of Engineering have successfully developed an intelligent bar that reduces the consumption of pesticides by 60 per cent. Several tests show that the intelligent bar fights weeds as effectively as an old-fashioned syringe.

Researchers from the Faculty of Engineering, in collaboration with University of Aarhus, University of Copenhagen and the companies EKTOS and CLAAS have now found a solution to the agriculture’s increasing use of pesticides. The principle of the intelligent bar is that it only sprays directly at the weed. Mark tests show that the intelligent bar reduces pesticide use by 60 per cent.

- It’s great that we now, scientifically, have proven that utilizing the intelligent bar can reduce the use of pesticides by 60 per cent. We worked on it for four years and now we finally have the technology to effectively reduce the use of pesticides for use in agriculture and especially our subsoil water, says project manager Niels Jul Jacobsen from the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute.

Effective weed control
Besides the regular spray nozzles, the intelligent bar is equipped with a number of cameras that look down on the ground. Using a computer program, the cameras can recognize and activate the nozzles when the bar rolls over dandelions, chamomile and chickweed.

- We’re very pleased with the successful outcome. We had expected the intelligent bar could reduce pesticide use by 50 per cent, but several tests show that the bar with 60 per cent fewer pesticides, fights weeds just as effectively as an old-fashioned syringe, says Niels Jul Jacobsen.

Positive test on an experimental field
Throughout the spring and summer, the bar has been put to use in an experimental field in Flakkebjerg at Slagelse. The field has been divided into different zones. A portion of the field has not been sprayed. A part has been sprayed in the conventional way, while a third part of the field has been sprayed by the intelligent bar. The experiments have demonstrated that the intelligent bar combats weeds as effectively as the old syringe.

- I expect that we will already be able to see parts of the intelligent bar in the market in two years’ time. After the project’s great success, the methods are ready to be turned over to one of the manufacturers of agricultural machinery that has been involved in the project. It’s not only agriculture that will benefit from the bar, but also the municipality’s road and park departments, says Niels Jul Jacobsen.

For further information please contact:
Project Manager Niels Jul Jacobsen, 2132 1512 or njj@mmmi.sdu.dk 
Post doc, PhD Henrik Midtiby, 2135 6105 or hemi@mmmi.sdu.dk

This project was started in RoboCluster in 2009 in collaboration with University of Aarhus, University of Copenhagen, CLAAS Agro Systems A/S, EKTOS A/S. The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation has invested 13 million kroner in the development.