TECH Move over big tractors, small robots target precision farming

TECH

Move over big tractors, small robots target precision farming

CGTN

03:44, April 12, 2019

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(Photo: CGTN)

A British agriculture technology startup believed that farms could employ small robots instead of the huge tractors and machinery in the near future.

The British Small Robot Company designed a team of small, lightweight robots called Tom, Dick and Harry. The company said replacing the tractor with small, intelligent, precision farming robots will make farms more productive, profitable and increase their yields and efficiency.

“Tom will trundle out into a field every day and night we hope, as well and just examine the crops. Take hundreds of thousands of photos of the crops and measure all sorts of different attributes about them, photographing them in normal color cameras as well as we're hoping infrared a bit later on, to see things that even an expert agronomist may not be able to pick up on without very serious careful detective work and we're doing that for every single plant in the field," said Robin Jackson, engineer of Small Robot Company.

Jamie Butler, the owner of Whitewool Farm who was trialing the robots, said the potential savings would be made in fertilizers, nutrients and pesticides. He said the priority thing is the reduction in the variable inputs, adding that advanced technology helps to get a much more accurate assessment and target problems.

Ben Scott Robinson, the co-founder of the Small Robot Company cited that farming as a service would allow farmers to control costs and concentrate on developing their businesses, instead of fixing machines.

“We are taking the driving of the tractor away from a farmer. We are taking away the changing of the pipes that have been gnawed by rats on their drilling kit because it's been left in a shed for a year. We're doing that and by doing that we're freeing the farmer up to really concentrate on making their farm a successful and profitable business,” he noted.

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