Double Winner - LAMMA 2023 Innovation Awards
OPICO is thrilled for FarmDroid to have won both the Arable Innovation Award and the Future Farming Innovation Award at 2023 LAMMA Show.
FarmDroid is a fully autonomous, solar-powered robot capable of precision drilling and weeding. It uses ultra-accurate GPS to record exactly where it places each seed. Then, once switched into weeding mode and for every subsequent pass it has no need to identify what’s a weed and what’s not – it simply knows where the crop was planted and works around each plant, with hoes shares running between each row and blades slicing off anything between each crop plant, in the row.
With in-row and inter-row action it eliminates weeds both between the rows and between the crop plants. Capable of working right to up within 5mm of each seedling between the rows and 20mm in the row, the FarmDroid’s shares mean it does the complete job so there is no need for hand-rogueing problem weeds like fat-hen (saving c.£250/ha).
This approach also means that unlike other similar machines, it doesn’t need to employ banks of high-definition cameras and complex computers to identify and target weeds. It also means the machine can start the weeding process before the crop has emerged because camera recognition is not required.
Its simplicity is just one of a number of features that set the machine apart from anything else on the market.
The FarmDroid concept was the brainchild of Jens and Kristian Warming – two farming brothers from central Denmark. They built the first prototypes with the help of some robotics specialists in their farm workshop and launched the machine to the world at Agritechnica 2019.
Initially, the FD was developed for organic sugar beet but was quickly adapted for a wide variety of other crops including fodder beet, onions, turnips, beetroot, OSR, parsley, coriander and other soft herbs. The list of compatible crops is being tested continuously in FarmDroid’s seed lab and so far the robot can handle more than 30 different crops.
Weighing just 800kg, FarmDroid has the lightest footprint possible - good for soil health and the bottom line - headlands aren’t run down with the result that yields are maintained across the entire cropped area.
And, being solar-powered, FarmDroid owners don’t have any fuel bills for the machine. Not only does this have a clear impact on the bottom line with today’s increasingly volatile energy markets, it’s also environmentally friendly. In a future where food retailers are progressively looking to be perceived as ‘green’ with carbon audits becoming more and more common, the FarmDroid can help provide one step towards energy self-sufficiency (and herbicide-free crop production).
If you'd like to enquire about the FarmDroid, click here.