ON THE BEET

COWRA, AUS­TRALIA

Focus-Science and Technology - - FUTURE FARMING -

In a typical field of beet­root you’re bat­tling against pig­weed, purslane, vel­vet leaf and wild buck­wheat, to name but a few un­wanted plants. These in­vaders can be ousted with her­bi­cides, but not with­out harm­ing the beets. So you re­ally want to avoid dous­ing your whole crop in chem­i­cals, but sadly it’s usu­ally the most ef­fi­cient way to keep weeds down.

Not, how­ever, if you have a RIPPA robot, which can iden­tify in­di­vid­ual weeds and ex­ter­mi­nate them by “mi­cro­dos­ing” with herbicide. Its de­sign­ers at the Uni­ver­sity of Sydney say their tech­nol­ogy is af­ford­able for farm­ers and could help them make cost sav­ings by cut­ting down on their use of her­bi­cides.

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