With the commercial sale of its AI-enabled precision spraying technology to a large farming operation in Israel, Greeneye Technology has reached a major milestone in its mission to significantly reduce herbicide use in agriculture, increasing productivity and profitability for farmers.
This is the first stage in the company’s global rollout, which will continue in early 2022 with its launch in the U.S. market. Initially, Greeneye plans to work with corn and soybean farmers in the Midwest and will increase availability to other states in 2023. Within days of announcing its early adopter program in the U.S., the company was oversubscribed, indicating the growing interest from farmers for a commercially viable precision spraying solution.
Backed by Syngenta, Greeneye says its precision spraying technology has been proven to cut herbicide use by 78% and reduce herbicide costs by more than 50% (average figures), while also improving weed control efficacy compared to traditional broadcast spraying (See video). This is achieved through AI technology that can detect and spray weeds in crops (green on green) with 95.7% accuracy.
The system is designed to integrate seamlessly into any brand or size of commercial sprayer, removing the need for farmers to invest in new machines. It also ensures that precision spraying can be carried out at the same travel speed as broadcast spraying.
“Weeds represent one of the greatest threats to global crop production,” says Nadav Bocher, CEO of Greeneye Technology. “In the U.S. alone, they are estimated to cost farmers more than $33 billion in lost production annually. Today, farmers address this challenge by spraying herbicides across the entire field – even though weed infestation may be as low as 10%. As a result, not only are farmers spending far more money on herbicides than they need to, but millions of gallons of herbicides are being needlessly sprayed each year. This is contributing to the mounting challenges posed by herbicide-resistant weeds, chemical drift, and soil and water contamination.
“Despite a concerted effort by the agriculture industry to develop precision spraying technologies, very few of these projects have moved beyond the trial phase,” he continues. “This is because the technology either fails to deliver the necessary level of accuracy and efficacy, or it requires farmers to invest in new spraying machines, making it prohibitively expensive. Greeneye’s solution overcomes both challenges, offering farmers what we believe is the most advanced commercially-viable precision spraying technology on the market.”
The solution uses a combination of hardware and deep machine learning to enable intelligent, real-time weed management decisions in the field. Cameras mounted directly onto spraying machines capture images at 40 frames per second, enabling rapid detection and classification of weeds down to the species level. Utilizing Greeneye’s proprietary dataset and algorithms, the system instantly calculates the amount of herbicide required and sprays it directly onto the weeds, leaving nearby crops unaffected.
The platform also features a dual-spraying function that allows farmers to apply residual herbicides on a broadcast basis while applying nonresidual herbicides precisely on weeds. Currently, farmers mix residual and nonresidual herbicides and spray them from the same nozzle, meaning they use far more nonresidual herbicide than is needed. The dual-spraying system overcomes this challenge by enabling farmers to spray only the herbicide required.
“We are incredibly proud to announce the commercial launch of our precision spraying technology, but reducing herbicide use is just the beginning,” Bocher says. “The next generation of our technology, which is already in development, will also be capable of precisely spraying chemicals such as fungicides and micronutrients, increasing savings to farmers beyond herbicides.
“At the same time, our AI capabilities enable us to collect ultra-high-resolution data from the entire field, providing valuable insights to farmers and enabling them to treat their field at the plant level. With this information at our fingertips, Greeneye is positioned to guide the global agriculture industry toward a more sustainable – and profitable – future.”