About 10 months ago, Verdant Robotics received one of the largest investments in ag robotics to date — $46.5 million. The plan was to use the money to scale its fleet, build more machines and cover more acres. We got a peak at one of those machines at the FIRA conference a few weeks ago. Verdant director of field operations Brad Abraham takes us underneath the hood of Verdant’s smart-spraying robot.
“These right here are sprayers. These are going to be spraying with that millimeter-type accuracy. They’re about the diameter of a pinky finger. We have 2 light fixtures that go with every spray box. We have 6 spray boxes. This could cover 20 feet. We also have a 40-foot implement that attaches to the side.
So, that way as we get across more acreage, bigger farms, we can get our distance longer to cover more acreage quicker. They spray herbicide right now, but the robots don’t care if it’s herbicide or fungicide or insecticide. Whatever it is, we can do the same thing for the plant as we’re doing for the weed itself.
The biggest thing is molecules on target. What we’re doing, we’re doubling — if not tripling — our molecules on target by being so precise with our spray. So, we can cut our percentages on our mixes down by 1/2 if not 3/4 of where they’re at on the conventional side right now.”
The machine has been working mainly in specialty crops, but Verdant plans to expand to broad acre organic crops, and eventually corn and soybean acres as well.