Principally, precision weed control is nothing new. Traditional weeding by hand is a very a precise operation guided by two sensors and a decision model: our eyes and brain. Precision weed control in a modern context makes use of new technologies. Sensors - cameras and non-imaging sensors - , software giving meaning to the sensor readings and satellite-based positioning systems, are usually the minimum requirements. The new technologies can also include the weeding implement itself. Examples are direct injection sprayers, multi-tank sprayers, variable rate nozzles, robotic single drop spraying and new blades for root cutting.
Additionally, sound precision weeding requires valid decision models developed by experts. This is essential. Based on knowledge on the weeding tool, the weeds and crop in question, the decision model translates georeferenced sensor-based weed observations into valid site-specific weed control.
Reduced environmental impact of weed control in agriculture is the main motivation for precision weeding. - But perhaps costs to herbicides and diesel can be reduced as well? Furthermore, could fields under site-specific weed management benefit from increased diversity of weeds? - Could such fields perhaps be attractive for pest insects’ natural enemies?
Precision weed control can be seen as a topic within precision crop protection and precision agriculture. It can also be a tool in Integrated Pest Management, especially IPM principle No. 6.
Here you find links to some of our projects and publications on precision weed control. Our projects represent a rather wide range, from robotic application of single droplets of herbicides in seeded root vegetables to camera-based mapping of creeping thistle in cereals from the harvester.