WEED-IT Quadro officially certified for ISOBUS operationsand the first precision spot spraying system to be part of the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) ISOBUS Database, having successfully passed the AEF ISOBUS test.
This new certification will allow users to control their WEED-IT system from their tractor or self-propelled sprayer controller.
Key User Benefits
Virtual terminal (UT): control WEED-IT from the terminal of the tractor or self-propelled sprayer
Section control (TC-BAS and TC-SC): to prevent overlap, the terminal of the tractor or self-propelled sprayer can control which WEED-IT sensors should spray and which not
Weed mapping (TC-GEO): all parts of the field where a weed was hit by WEED-IT are reported back to the terminal to generate a weed-map
Market launch timings
Field testing is continuing and if all goes according to plan, the WEED-IT ISOBUS implementation is expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2021.
Existing WEED-IT Quadro users will be able to benefit from the backward compatibility of the ISOBUS implementation.
Further information on upgrades and price will be provided once all field testing and validation is completed and ready for commercial release.
New software update enables Canadian growers to target resistant weeds with both spot spraying and full-coverage spraying.
The world’s most accurate, fast and easy-to-use weed detection and spot spraying technology, WEED-IT, has released a new software update that continues to set it apart from other sprayers on the market. With the latest WEED-IT Quadro update, growers can now use WEED-IT Quadro for both spot spraying – targeting all weeds on fallow ground – and for in-crop full-coverage spraying with its Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) features. This allows farmers to accurately apply post-emergent products on a per-nozzle basis with speed and turn compensation.
WEED-IT’s PWM nozzle control allows a wide application rate with any nozzle type, reducing the need to switch nozzles and saving growers precious time and increasing efficiency of the sprayer and the applied treatment.
Farmers around the world choose WEED-IT over other spot spraying systems because of its ease of use, robustness and effectiveness.
Jesper Voois, Croplands Equipment Product Manager
“Farmers around the world choose WEED-IT over other spot spraying systems because of its ease of use, robustness and effectiveness,” says Croplands Equipment Canada Product Manager Jesper Voois. “This latest update makes WEED-IT more versatile and even more appealing to growers in Canada.”
Always optimal with WEED-IT stepless nozzle control
The new software update also introduces continuous variable transmissions (CVT) technology for continuous variation of WEEDIT’s PWM nozzle control. This new update allows for any operator – experienced or inexperienced – to automatically work with the optimal speed for the job.
Sprayer operators are used to suboptimal application rates when accelerating from the headland, because the flow regulator is increasing the flow in steps. WEED-IT has now managed, partly thanks to the standard 50 Hz high frequency, to have the PWM nozzle control correct stepless for the time the flow regulator requires to regulate. With WEED-IT stepless nozzle control technology, the application rate is optimal and on-target regardless of acceleration and deceleration to and from headlands.
Conventional PWM control (left) with under and over dosages while accelerating and decelerating compared to WEED-IT Quadro PWM control (right) with a constant and optimal application rate target regardless of acceleration and deceleration.
Compatible with older systems
This software release, version V4.12 for terminals and version V3.42 for sensors, is standard on new WEED-IT Quadro systems and can be retrofitted to terminals with version V4.10 and higher and Quadro sensors with software version V3.40 and higher.
Long-time spot spraying advocate turns to WEED-IT Quadro
02 November 2020
Brothers David and Gordon Brownhill have understood the value of weed-sensing technology since the 1990s.
David says the latest spray technology is an essential tool for no-till broadacre farmers, and the pair has received an immediate financial return from their new trailed WEED-IT Quadro sprayer.
The Brownhill brothers are third generation farmers, who run Merrilong Pastoral Company. The farm on the Liverpool Plains in New South Wales has grown to 10,000 ha.
They run stock on 2000 ha and the rest is for cropping cotton, sorghum (for grain as a summer crop), corn, four types of wheat, barley, chickpeas and faba beans.
Gordon is general manager and David is business manager. They also have a farm manager and nine full time staff. Gordon’s son Hugh recently joined the business, becoming the fourth generation of Brownhills to work the land.
David says he first became interested in weed-sensing technology when the then Department of Agriculture was developing a system in Tamworth. He and Gordon bought an early prototype. It was not user-friendly.
However, in 1998, David won a Nuffield Scholarship and used the opportunity to visit California to see how spot-spray technology was being used with cotton.
That led David to form a company in 2001 to import weed-sensing technology on a 24m boom. He then changed tack, and used another version of the technology, until finally this year he bought the WEED-IT Quadro with a 36m boom.
He says the main reason he swapped to WEED-IT was its new blue light system. Earlier brands use red LED lights, but blue LED lights are more accurate at detecting the green of chlorophyll in plants, and they operate just as well at night.
The night operation matters as the Brownhills can spray glyphosate during the day and gramoxone at night, because the latter is more effective at night.
Their best effort has been 780 ha covered in 24 hours.
The WEED-IT system is compatible with most boom types and David and Gordon run theirs on a Hayes sprayer, made just over the border in Queensland.
We are super happy. It has been a great investment. The pay back has been crazy. In the first eight weeks we saved $157,000 off the weed bill.
David Brownhill, Merrilong Pastoral Company NSW
That massive savings was because after two years of drought there were minimal weeds – only about four percent cover. This meant they could spray their entire 8000 ha cropping area with the spot-sprayer to hit the hardy survivors, without wasting spray on barren areas.
“The guy running our spraying operation brought a proposal to the board. He did the maths and said we would pay it off in three years. The way it is going, it will be in two. It is one of the few bits of technology that gives you a return to the pocket straight away.”
David says integrated pest management (IPM) is stock standard for anyone in the cotton industry and they do practices such as winter and summer rotations and use targeted sprays where possible, which do not harm beneficial insects.
“I believe in science and technology and have no issues with herbicides and insecticides, but the less we can use the better,” he says.
Spot spraying is a perfect complement to IPM. It also means they can deal with hard-to-kill weeds by using higher concentrations, without breaking the bank.
The WEED-IT Quadro provides options. It can be specified with two tanks to apply two different chemicals on different rates. Or it can broadacre spray with one chemical while spot spraying with the other. WEED-IT sensors can also be retrofitted to several makes and models of self-propelled sprayers with kits specifically designed for each boom.
For David’s operation, he ordered a model with just one 4000-litre tank and only spot sprayers. He does have the option to add another tank later if required.
It is not a huge tank, but then when only spraying four percent of a paddock, you do not use much. It also means little time is wasted filling up.
Lochie, the night driver, fills up at say 6pm, and that tank usually lasts the night.
If he does need to fill up, there is a cage on the front with herbicide. He can fill up with water somewhere on the property, and the herbicide is ingested through the line into the tank. In this way, he is fully self-sufficient through the night.
Weed-detecting sensors on the WEED-IT boom are on 1m spacings. Each sensor controls four nozzles fitted with a high speed 50hz, 6v solenoid. The boom is 1.1m high to prevent shading of weeds and background calibration happens 40,000 times per second so there are no issues with accuracy in different soil conditions.
Crop rotations on the Brownhills’ farm see wheat harvested in December, and then 10-11 months fallow before replanting. During that fallow time, paddocks are sprayed on 4-6 week intervals.
David says the WEED-IT can work at about 13 kph, which allows them to cover 36 ha/hour. “The accuracy at 13 kph is sensational.”
The Quadro has five sensitivity settings and on Merrilong farms they always run on 1, the most sensitive. The WEED-IT system automatically calibrates as it goes.
How big does a farm have to be to justify this technology? “I could probably justify this on 2000 ha,” David says.
At Merrilong they use a 320-hp tractor to tow the Quadro, however David says that is really overkill and they could use 150 hp. The tractor used on the WEED-IT, also has other roles on the farm.
Croplands provides the back-up service for the WEED-IT Quadro.
“There are so many settings, and the guy from Croplands helps us make other choices, like when the nozzles turn off and on. It is an excellent process.”
The Guest family uses a WEED-IT Quadro optical spot sprayer to limit chemical build up and deal with troublesome weeds on Thorburn, their farm north of Griffith, NSW.
The Guest family uses a WEED-IT Quadro optical spot sprayer to limit chemical build up and deal with troublesome weeds on Thorburn, their farm north of Griffith, NSW.
Rodney and Leonie Guest are the owners of the 2400-ha property, which mainly produces wheat, barley, and peas. Their daughter and son-in-law Tanaya and Sandy Nixon live on the farm. It is Sandy who operates the WEED-IT.
The soils on Thorburn are Mallee sandy loams with some sandy rises that have lower organic carbon levels. Rodney says they were finding residues of Roundup and 2,4-D building up in those low carbon areas, which limited following crops.
Legumes and canola are sensitive to spray and could not be planted on the sandier soils.
To reduce the amount of chemical they use, and therefore residue levels, is one reason why they decided to purchase the WEED-IT Quadro.
The Quadro is the latest version of the WEED-IT. It has new blue light sensors every metre along the boom and each sensor controls four nozzles. When it ‘sees’ the green of vegetation it directs spray solely at that weed.
The result has been a huge reduction in the amount of chemical they require.
Part of the farm rotation is to leave 400 ha fallow. This serves as a weed break and also conserves moisture for the next crop.
Sandy sprayed the fallow land, just after getting the Quadro in September.
I used just 25 litres of chemical spot-spraying, compared to 1000 litres if I had sprayed it all. There are huge savings to be made
Rodney Guest, “Thorburn”, NSW
He says cutting down the amount of spray the family uses is good for the soil, the environment, and the back pocket. In an increasingly regulated industry it’s all a positive, especially reducing the use of 2,4-D.
“It is a big advantage being able to use less chemical. We can afford to use more expensive chemicals that better target a troublesome weed.
“One of our problem weeds is feathertop Rhodes grass. Last summer to control it, we went out in utes most of the summer and chipped it out by hand.
“Now we are going to use the Quadro as we can afford a more expensive chemical, which has to go on at high rates.”
Sandy also hopes the Quadro will delay the development of herbicide-resistant weeds. At the moment they are just starting to see resistant ryegrass and they are hoping to get on top of it by spot spraying during the fallow rotation.
The Quadro has two tanks so it can blanket spray and spot spray at the same time. The main tank is 4000-litres and the hot tank for spot spraying is 1100-litres. Other models available include the WEED-IT 7000 with 7000 litre main tank and 1500 litre hot tank.
The two tanks can hold different chemicals and spray at different rates.
Sandy has yet to use this feature, but says in future he plans to spot spray weeds whilst blanket spraying pre-emergents.
“It gives us options. If a paddock is clean we can do the whole paddock at a low rate and if there is a scattering of weeds we can give them a bigger hit.”
When he is only spot spraying, Sandy uses the main tank for extra water. This means he does not have to make up as much spray at once.
He operates the WEED-IT at 15-20 kph. It has a 24m ground-gliding boom, so he can cover lots of ground in a day. Boom width on the larger WEED-IT 7000 is 36m.
The WEED-IT system of sensors can be added to any type of sprayer. The Guests purchased their trailed WEED-IT Quadro through their local Croplands dealer in Griffith.
Controlling problem summer weeds is essential to Sheldon and Rebecca Dalton’s cropping business, so they had no hesitation adding a new Croplands WEED-IT 7000 spot sprayer to their fleet.
The WEED-IT 7000 compliments their two RoGator RG1300 sprayers, which are used to blanket spray paddocks left to fallow, while the WEED-IT is used to mop up any remaining weeds. All three sprayers are supplied by Croplands.
“We haven’t used the WEED-IT a lot yet, but it is already showing us it will be a great addition to get those hard to kill weeds, without having to spray the whole paddock. So it is economical,” Sheldon says.
“We farm in a lower rainfall area, and we leave a certain percentage of paddocks each year that we don’t crop, so we can build up our moisture as a risk management tool. It is important that we don’t let weeds take over and the Weed-It has a fairly well proven record.”
The Daltons farm around 18,000 hectares in western New South Wales on flat and slightly undulating country. They get an average yearly rainfall of about 350 mm.
Because of the lower rainfall, they fallow about 30 percent of their paddocks each year to allow subsoil moisture to build up. Rhodes grass is a particular problem over the summer months, Sheldon says.
“In the summer we are having trouble with Rhodes weed. It’s becoming a pest and an expensive weed to eradicate with blanket spraying.
“But with the WEED-IT, we can target each weed individually without having to respray the whole paddock.”
Instead of spraying 100 percent of the paddock we might only need to spray 5-30 percent. It makes the process more economical and we know we are achieving targeted eradication.
Sheldon Dalton, “Tanderra”, Hillston NSW
Croplands has extensively tested and calibrated WEED-IT 7000 sprayers for Australian conditions. Last year they added the new Quadro sensor to the spot sprayers.
Quadro sensors used blue LED lights, which are more sensitive to weeds than red LED lights. This enhances the sprayer’s accuracy and ability to get the job done.
With WEED-IT technology farmers and contractors can delay the onset of herbicide resistance, lower the weed seed bank and improve water retention, while making substantial chemical savings, which are all things the Daltons wanted to achieve.
They bought their WEED-IT from the Croplands dealership, Intersales in Griffith, NSW, which is about 90 km from their farm.
Sheldon and Rebecca farm with their sons Bellamy and Kaleb at ‘Tanderra’, near the town of Hillston.
The family owns and leases a total area of 35,000 ha, including 18,000 ha of farmland. The balance is in Mallee forest land, which is ideal for hunting wild pigs and deer.
Their home block of Tanderra includes 12,000 ha of farmland from 11 adjoining properties, while there are a couple of lease blocks located up to 30 km from Tanderra.
The Daltons’ farming operation is mainly arable. They grow wheat and barley for grain, and add peas and vetch legumes to the cropping programme to build up nitrogen in the soil. They also run a commercial herd of Angus cattle.
After the challenges of successive dry seasons in recent years, the Daltons are enjoying a good season with nearly 400 mm of rain so far this year, ahead of the average yearly rainfall of 350 mm.
“We got through alright last year. We had a couple of good rains at the end of the previous year and just before sowing, so we had a good crop. But we had a couple of dry years before that.”
Sheldon says the two RoGator RG1300s are the operation’s two main sprayers and are used for pre-sowing spraying, as well as blanket spraying of fallow paddocks. They are well complemented by the WEED-IT 7000.
He bought the first RG1300 about four or five years ago and added the second one last year.