ON THE BEET
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.