Articles, Blog

Robot Farm


Narrator
In the grand scheme of Feeding America, tools in the field are fundamental. They make the
difference between profit and loss; shortage or surplus. But today, researchers are mixing
brains with brawn in the new machinery of agriculture. The future is now, and it’s
the beginning of the robot farm… John Solie – Oklahoma State University
This is the Green Seeker sensor that was developed originally at Oklahoma State University. Narrator
Researcher John Solie and his team worked with N-Tech Industries, a private sector firm,
to create the Green Seeker. This smart machine “reads” a plant’s needs and then applies
precisely the amount of fertilizer or herbicide needed. John Solie
We use sensors to let the plant tell us what it needs. The Green Seeker shines light at
red and near infrared wave lengths on the plant. That light is absorbed by the plant
and some of that light is reflected back up into the sensor. The sensor measures the amount
of light reflected off the plant. We can take an applicator, drive out in the field, have
the sensor look at the crop, make a determination of what the plant actually needs in fertilizer,
and then apply only that amount. Narrator
This is precision agriculture at its best. The environment is spared unnecessary spraying
of chemicals. The savings in fertilizer translates into cheaper food at the grocery store, and
farmers benefit from lower operating costs. John Solie
We estimate our farmers are seeing typically about $10/acre savings in the amount of fertilizer
applied. In fact we’ve had cases where based on our sensor, they’ve come to the conclusion
that they don’t have to apply any additional fertilizer. So the savings can be very large. Narrator
Tom Denker is one Oklahoma farmer who has benefited. Working with Extension agronomist
Roger Gribble, Tom has used the economical hand-held version of the Green Seeker on his
wheat fields. Tom traditionally used 80 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per acre. With the
Green Seeker he’s found he can use only twenty- a 75% decrease. Tom Denker – Oklahoma farmer
It was really a great technology and a great savings. Roger Gribble – Oklahoma State University
Extension This is a perfect system for him. We minimize
the pre-plant fertilizer we put out. We’re continuing to educate more and more producers
through our programs and demonstrations such as what we got with Tom. We’ll continue
to almost double almost every year, the number of producers that accept that technology. Narrator
John Solie wants to refine the Green Seeker for precision farming down to the square foot.
He’s found this to be the optimum target size for sensor technology because nutrient
needs can change rapidly within a field. John Solie
We’re not at one foot yet, but we’ve developed a machine that will work at 2 feet by 2 feet
and work very well. Narrator
Once the price of the new technology becomes affordable, farming by the square foot will
become a reality. And the Green Seeker will lead the way to the farm of the future —
the Robot Farm.

7 Comments

  1. Devin Gardiner Author

    @Takiado Genetically modified is helping farming and people, with genetically modified seed that lets farmers use less chemical. also plants can develop diseases like "rust" farmers spray for that to help keep the plant green and healthy (fungicide). genetically modified is creating more proteins in our wheat. genetically modified is also creating omega 3 in our soybeans tell me that more protein and omega 3 is bad for us? this is so sad how uneducated our public is on farming and Chemicals/GMO

    Reply

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