This week’s Technology Corner spotlight shines on Indianapolis-based agtech company Smart Apply and their Intelligent Spray Control System, which combines precision spraying and data to enable specialty crop growers to cut back on chemicals and water.
According to a decade’s worth of research at various universities, the system reduces chemical and water use by 50% on average, with up to 93% less chemical run off and 87% less airborne drift
Smart Apply uses LiDAR to detect the presence, size and density of trees or vines. Each nozzle of the sprayer is controlled by Pulse Width Modulation that automatically adjusts spray volume to multiple zones of individual plants. It stops spraying when no plants are detected. GPS tracking is used for exact speed and map location.
Using the system’s Android tablet, farmers can adjust settings and chemical applications to automate the spraying process. There is also an option to switch to manual spraying. Smart Apply captures data such as chemical volumes applied, speed, chemical savings, tree/vine counts and operator performance. The data is uploaded to the Cloud and archived. Farmers have the option of integrating their data with the Deere Operations Center.
Sold as a kit, the system is compatible with virtually all air blast sprayers. It’s currently available through 24 authorized dealers with more than 320 locations around the world. Smart Apply is in the process of recruiting more dealers and the company hopes 2023 is their breakthrough year.