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Kiwi agritech SeedSpider is launching its AI-augmented robotic weeder, WeedSpider, to the US market at FIRA USA, the Agricultural Robotics Forum in California this week.

WeedSpider’s ground-breaking technology is capable of identifying and eliminating weeds in a variety of crops. It provides a much-needed solution to the severe labour shortage problem facing commercial vegetable growers. The technology also reduces the need for weed spray, making vegetable growing much more sustainable and healthier for people and planet.

SeedSpider founder and CEO, Don Sandbrook (pictured), says that customers already know and trust the company’s seeding technology which is used to plant around 80 percent of salad greens and baby carrots in the US market.

“With a customer base focused on improving productivity, it was an obvious step for us to expand from seeding to weeding. Our fully autonomous weeding robot offers growers the ability to increase yields and reduce costs. We are confident that this revolutionary technology will change the way we farm and provide much-needed relief to the industry.

“The global demand for food is increasing year on year, which is why innovative solutions like the Weed- and SeedSpider are needed to increase food production, without impacting the health of the planet,” says Sandbrook.

The Palmerston North-based company’s success started with the development, in 1990, of SeedSpider, a revolutionary seed metering system that now plants an estimated 80 percent of mesclun crops in the US. To help address the increasing challenges of the agricultural sector across the world, the business set about taking its seeding expertise into the world of weed management. After five years of development, it has produced a world-class autonomous robot that traverses crop rows whilst detecting and mechanically eliminating weeds.

The highly intelligent technology is capable of monitoring and managing the entire weeding and thinning process for growers, providing comprehensive insights into weed density, plant health, and yield analysis through the life cycle of their crops. WeedSpider targets and removes weeds only, rather than indiscriminately hoeing everything, providing a more sustainable and environmentally friendly solution. The robot is also fully autonomous and does not require a tractor, freeing up valuable space on farms.

US Base in Santa Maria

In order to drives sales for WeedSpider and to provide after sales support, SeedSpider has set up a base in California where, along with Arizona, much of the food grown in the US is produced. The company has a facility with three WeedSpider robots on site which it is using in active trials with leading producers in the region.

Research shows that the demand for food is set to increase by 70 percent in the next 30 years due to population growth. WeedSpider offers an effective solution to this problem, as it is able to work 24 hours a day without requiring any manual labour, making it more cost-effective than traditional methods.

For more information visit SeedSpider.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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