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Bilberry Green-on-Green systems start to roll with Miller sprayers

Orginally published on Farm Weekly July 4, 2022

The latest Miller Nitro 7000 series sprayers with Bilberry ‘green-on’green’ weed identification technology are now rolling in the northern Wheatbelt

THE first Bilberry “Green-on-Green’’ spot spraying systems installed on Miller Nitro 7000 Series sprayers are hitting the ground in WA’s northern and eastern wheatbelt regions.

Demand for the Miller 7000 Series sprayers has been exceptionally strong right across the country and interest in adding the Bilberry Green-on-Green weed identification option with them has been growing rapidly, particularly with the rising cost of chemical inputs.

The Bilberry Intelligent Spot Spraying System uses an embedded camera network, artificial intelligence and deep learning software to identify weeds in-crop or in Green-on-Green applications.

The high speed, high-definition cameras are installed at 3-metre intervals along the booms to scan paddocks and the company’s weed recognition algorithms are constantly evolving to ensure specific weeds are precisely targeted with the appropriate herbicide in real time.

The technology is currently used for broadleaf weeds in wheat, barley and oat crops along with blue lupins in lupin crops. Broadleaf break crops and pastures will soon be available.

Green-on-Green trials with the Bilberry Intelligent Spot Spraying System have shown an average hit and kill rate of 80 per cent, as well as chemical savings of up to 90pc.

The system fully integrates with Miller’s electronics and is available on the Miller truss booms up to 41.5m and the 48m Pommier boom. This full integration also allows users to easily change from spot to blanket spraying.

In addition to the hardware investment, growers pay a subscription to the Bilberry Intelligent Spot Spraying System either per hectare or on an annual basis with unlimited hectares. This also incorporates all software updates and performance improvements.

The Bilberry system complements the existing Trimble WeedSeeker 2 spot spraying system offered with the Miller sprayers that uses reflected light technology.

Meanwhile, the high demand for the Miller 7000 Series Nitro machines is putting stocks under pressure for this season and into 2023, with interested growers encouraged to indicate their intentions as soon as possible, also considering the opportunity to secure orders at current pricing.

Peter Vella, National Miller Sales Manager with Australian distributor, McIntosh Distribution, said user-friendly operation of some of the most sophisticated application technologies in the agricultural spraying industry was driving the increased sales and enquiry.

“Despite the array of application technologies and systems available, the Miller sprayers have remained really easy to use, especially now with features like the latest one-touch auto-folding,’’ Peter said.

“There are not too many things you have to do to go spraying and it means it is easy for multiple operators. Experienced and inexperienced operators will find it simple and easy to understand.’’

On the Miller Nitro 7000 sprayers, the Bilberry cameras are installed at 3-metre intervals along the booms to scan the paddock, The system fully integrates with Miller’s electronics and is available on truss booms up to 41.5m and 48m Pommier booms.

The latest Miller Nitro 7000 Series sprayers introduced more power, torque and fuel efficiency, as well as improved driver experience, into the manufacturer’s range.

Proven IVECO Tier 2 turbo diesel engines deliver 434 peak horsepower with 1629NM of torque for the 7420 model and 383 peak horsepower with 1459NM of torque for the 7380 sprayer.

An innovative hydrostatic Danfoss pump system featuring electronically-controlled variable displacement piston drive motors and integrated Fairfield Torque-Hub planetary final drives are responsible for the improved drive performance. The drive motors supply greater torque at all speeds, while the weight distribution has been carefully designed to ensure it remains within 4 per cent of 50:50 balance during spraying.

The complete chassis and suspension system on the latest sprayers was purposely designed with added strength for the Australian market and four-wheel steer is available for those who need to track on a singular tyre track to avoid issues. Local tyres are selected for excellent flotation and reduced compaction.

Factory Miller boom widths range from 27 metres to 41.5m, but growers also have the option of a 48m Pommier aluminium boom, which has become increasingly popular.

The addition of the Raven XRT high resolution height control system also now ensures the booms remain at optimum spraying height for longer.

Nozzle systems range from basic single nozzle spray lines through to multiple systems, as well as central line, gap-aligned, offset and tiered spray line set-ups, plus pulse width modulation (PWM) and Intellispray nozzle systems for high resolution, individual nozzle control, which also are now in higher demand.

The Miller Spray-Air platform is another option attracting strong interest again, largely due to the bulkier crops in recent seasons and with growers looking to further improve their spray coverage.

For further information on the Miller range and various application systems available with the sprayers, growers can contact their local Miller dealer.