New robotic weeder boosts productivity

Clyde Bowers, Dicken Bowers and Pam Bowers with their new robocrop in-row weeder. (Image supplied)
Clyde Bowers, Dicken Bowers and Pam Bowers with their new robocrop in-row weeder. (Image supplied)

Robotic technology is taking a family-run 53-acre organic farm near Boston to the next level thanks to a £67,380 robotic weeder.

Stickney-based Strawberry Fields were delighted to secure 40 per cent funding for a Garford ‘robocrop in-row weeder’ from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, under the Leader Fund Scheme.

An automated camera guided, tractor mounted hoe, it represents the latest innovative technology.

Pam Bowers, from Strawberry Fields, said: “The machine goes plant to plant in one pass, whereas up until now, weeding equipment has only taken out the weeds inter row and in our organic situation, hoeing plant to plant has been done manually. Our productivity has been restricted by the requirement for hand labour, a job that has become less popular over the years and particularly in a wet season.”

On delivery of the machine, Clyde Bowers said: “This has been my dream for so long and now the day has finally arrived.”

Pam added: “With the uncertainty hanging over us of sourcing labour post-Brexit, any reduction in the need for manual labour is welcome.”