Cotton Weeds Next Target for See & Spray
From Cotton Grower Magazine – March 2017
“I’ve literally been told by farmers, ‘I’ve been dreaming about a machine like this’,” says Jorge Heraud, CEO of Blue River Technologies.
“This” is the company’s See & Spray machine, which does just what it says it does: sprays weeds and leaves crops alone.
Heraud, a former director of engineering for Trimble who helped to develop autosteer, is in Blue River’s office/workshop deep in Silicon Valley, but his sights already are on the mid-summer Cotton Belt, where See & Spray will be trialed and offered for 2018 delivery.
For pigweed-weary cotton producers, See & Spray’s assembly of tech-industry gifts like image recognition, machine learning, and artificial intelligence offers a vision of a weed-free heaven. The sprayer just might contribute to a resurgence of non-glyphosate herbicides at rates that are a fraction of conventional applications.
But in the meantime, Blue River fine-tunes its technology, upping the machine’s effective speed from 2 mph to 4 mph this year, and then on to a goal of a more typical 6 mph. “This is the way we should farm,” Heraud says. “Chemicals are very useful tools. But they’re best when you use them when you need them: to kill the weed.”