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Unique Spot Sprayer Features Attract Growers

With the new WeedSeeker 2 spot spraying system from Trimble, there are effectively 30 per cent fewer sensors, adding up to a significant reduction in overall weight on booms, and they line up with most common sprayer nozzle spacings, allowing ease of plumbing.

Published in Farm Weekly October 31, 2019

Growers keen on investing in a spot spraying system are increasingly being drawn to new features only available with the new generation WeedSeeker 2 spot sprayer from Trimble.

National distributor McIntosh Distribution plans to have two specially-rigged WeedSeeker 2 demonstration kits operating in the northern and southern WA agricultural regions soon. Growers interested in viewing the new features and full workings of the latest system can contact their local McIntosh & Son dealer to arrange a demonstration.

Jonathan Bent with McIntosh Distribution said it was aiming to complete more than 200 demonstrations across the State’s agricultural region.

Jonathan said at the top of the market-leading features exclusive to WeedSeeker 2 was the fact it was ISOBUS compatible, allowing operators the option of interfacing through most existing ISO displays.

“Rather than having to put another controller in the cab, WeedSeeker 2 integrates with existing systems, allowing cost savings for growers,’’ Jonathan said.

In addition to typical rate control and steering functions, the system also provides weed mapping, which pinpoints where and when weeds are treated in paddocks.

“A weed map ISO XML file can then be processed in desktop mapping software, effectively helping growers to control and manage weed resistance. It shows where sensors have been turning on and off and, therefore, where weeds are more dominant. Growers can then monitor resistant populations and possibly treat areas differently in future to help fight resistance,’’ Jonathan said.

Section control is another exclusive feature to WeedSeeker 2 proving popular with growers.

“They can have up to 18 individual sections at whatever size they want and growers can manipulate the number of sensors per section to suit the type of program they are running, like tramlining,’’ Jonathan said.

The intelligent, self-learning sensors, which allow automatic calibration with WeedSeeker 2, have impressed growers.

“With the original WeedSeeker, the system had to be recalibrated whenever field conditions changed significantly,’’ Jonathan said.

“The new intelligent sensors take into account a number of background readings, including the soil background, light, sensor output and other factors. Each sensor individually adjusts itself to work at maximum efficiency all of the time. It adjusts itself to the environment it is working in.’’

The new compact WeedSeeker 2 sensors are also now 50% lighter, helping to reduce the overall weight of the system on spray booms, while their spacing along booms has widened from 38cm to 50cm, effectively reducing sensor numbers by 30%.

“This has further reduced the weight on booms and the components required for fitment. The lighter sensors have also opened up the opportunity for the system to be used on wider platforms,’’ Jonathan said.

Compared with other similar products that have sensors spaced at every metre along booms, the 50cm spacing provides for double the resolution when targeting weeds, which is especially valuable in situations with heavy stubble burdens.

“With alternate systems, if there is a significant stubble burden, the sensor light doesn’t get through the stubble easily to detect weeds,’’ Jonathan said.

He said a newly redesigned quick-attach bracket kit allowed quick removal of the sensors from booms and an easy return to other spraying activity.

“Unlike other systems, the WeedSeeker 2 also does not need to be fitted to ground-following booms. It can easily be retrofitted to most existing suspended booms.’’

Meanwhile, WeedSeeker 2 continues to use two light sources, both infrared and near-infrared, for the most accurate detection of all weeds.

“The dual frequency light band has proved to be important in dusty conditions and where the conditions can change quickly,’’ Jonathan said.

For further information on the new WeedSeeker 2 spot spraying system, growers can contact their local McIntosh & Son dealer.