Back to Latest News

Pin It

Bilberry green-on-green technology available on Miller front-mounted sprayers

Originally published in Queensland Country Life 28 November 2021

McIntosh & Son

Miller Australia national sales manager Peter Vella and Bilberry Australian sales manager Josh Johnson. Mr Johnson said they havent had a green-on-green system on front-mounted booms before, so it was a quite exciting move.

Green-on-green weed identifying technology is the latest feature to be added to Miller spray range.

Front-mounted Miller sprayers already feature an array of options including a complete range of nozzle application systems, Raven XRT auto height control and four-wheel steer, as well as Miller's Spray-Air platform and other third party air-assisted systems, while WeedSeeker 2 Reflected Light spot spray technology also can be used with the machines.

The Bilberry Intelligent Spot Spraying System, from the namesake tech start-up company, 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 three-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.

Bilberry Australian sales manager Josh Johnson said blue lupin was expected to join the broadleaf weeds currently identified for green-on-green applications, while grass weeds in some broadleaf crops could be added in 2023.

In addition to the technology's use in wheat, barley and oat crops, Mr Johnson said it also was set to be available for lupins in 2022 and soon-after for broadleaf break crops and pastures.

McIntosh Distribution is the Australian distributor of Miller and national sales manager Peter Vella said the move was part of a continued focus by Miller to offer end-users the latest in spray application technologies.

"One of the strong advantages with Bilberry is that it has recognised the importance of the Australian market and, as such, it has established an office here and its CEO and a substantial part of the company's research and development capacity are in Australia," Mr Vella said.

"It is comforting for end-users to know that the technology and its development is being done here."

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 technology's ability to map weed populations is also helping to further prevent herbicide resistance.

Mr Vella said growers could potentially gain an understanding of crop growth stage and disease status and receive GPS-logged data that could assist nitrogen and fungicide applications, as well as their overall farm management strategy.

The Bilberry cameras can be used at travelling speeds of up to 20 kilometres per hour, allowing growers to maintain high capacity spraying operations.

The system fully integrates with Miller's electronics and is available on the Miller truss booms up to 41.5m and the Pommier 48m aluminium boom. The 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 incorporates all software updates and performance improvements.

A limited number of the Bilberry systems will be available with Miller sprayers for 2022.