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  • Dusty Sonnenberg

New Agricultural Technology Awards highlighted at Commodity Classic

Updated: May 13, 2022

Since 1996, Commodity Classic has been an annual agricultural event bringing together members of the American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Wheat Growers, and National Sorghum Producers, along with members of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. A highlight of the Commodity Classic every year is the trade show. The 2022 show hosted over 350 exhibitors and over 2,000 booths. Next to the Louisville Farm Show, the Commodity Classic Trade show is often the first opportunity farmers get to preview the latest releases that companies have to offer.

For the past five years, a part of Commodity Classic has been the presentation of the Davidson Prize. These awards are given by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). Each year they recognize the top three innovative products, selected from the AE50 honorees, which represent the best innovations in engineering and technology for agricultural, food, and biological systems. The Davidson Prize was designed to celebrate breakthrough innovations in these areas.

John Deere was one of three 2022 Davidson Prize recipients this year with their See & Spray™ advanced spraying technology. See & Spray ™ is the first commercially available John Deere machine that comes with factory-equipped camera technology that can detect color differentiation. This technology enables the sprayer to “spot-spray” weeds that are detected in the field and manage weed pressure on fallow acres much more efficiently than a broadcast application. It works when cameras rapidly detect only green plants within fallow ground and trigger an application to those plants only. It also uses John Deere’s ExactApply ™ nozzle control technology. Currently it is the only OEM solution available that has both the spot-spray and broadcast spray options available on the same machine in one integrated package.

Farmers can save an estimated 77% on average of their non-residual, pre-emerge herbicides using the See&Spray ™ technology. “In the first year in the field, some growers have exceeded a savings of 77%,” said Franklin Peitz, North American Marketing Manager for Sprayers. It is also estimated that using the ExactApply™ technology can save up to 5% in broadcast chemical costs. In light of increasing herbicide prices and concerns over the availability of some products, these savings will have an even greater impact now than in past years.

This is a technology journey we are on with See&Spray ™ technology,” said Peitz. The first release in the See&Spray ™ journey is the See&Spray™ Select. “There has been broad interest in this technology in areas that commonly practice chemical fallow rotation. Demand has been growing, especially in areas of south Texas for cotton burn-down. See&Spray™ Select is intended only for herbicide applications in Corn, Soybeans, and Cotton in the United States and Canada. This technology was developed in conjunction with the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.”

The next step on the See&Spray™ journey is See&Spray Ultimate. “See & Spray™ Ultimate is an in-season targeted spray technology combined with a dual product solution system for corn, soybeans, and cotton,” said Peitz. “Where See&Spray ™ Select was for green on brown herbicide application (identifying plants or weeds on fallow ground), See&Spray™ Ultimate is for green-on-green application (identifying weeds in a growing crop). See&Spray™ Ultimate was just released the first week of March, and uses a completely different technology than the See&Spray™ Select. In the relationship between Blue River Technologies and John Deere, See&Spray™ Ultimate was developed. See&Spray™ Select is not upgradable to See&Spray™ Ultimate. Both are unique products and must come factory installed on new John Deere Sprayers. Initially See&Spray™ Ultimate will only be available in the United States. There will be a limited run in 2023 targeted to dealers and retailers the Mississippi Delta, pockets of the Midwest, and parts of Texas. Orders for sales will be taken in late 2023.

Additionally, See & Spray™ Ultimate will have dual-product capabilities, which will allow farmers to combat herbicide resistance by using two independent tank mixes in one pass and avoiding antagonism in more advanced tank mixes. See & Spray™ Ultimate can reduce non-residual herbicide use by more than two-thirds by only spraying weeds in corn, soybeans, and cotton. Two tank options are available, 1,200 and 1,000 gallons. The 1,200-gallon option is split into a 450-gallon tank for targeted spraying and a 750-gallon tank for broadcast spraying. The 1,000-gallon option is split into a 350-gallon tank for targeted spraying and a 650-gallon tank broadcast spraying.

Cameras and processors are mounted on the boom and utilize both computer vision and machine learning to detect weeds from crop plants. There is one camera mounted every one meter across the width of the boom. “From a sustainability standpoint, See & Spray™ Ultimate can help farmers use less herbicide and decrease opportunities for drift,” said Peitz.

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