I discuss current research with a weed sensing sprayer in the YouTube video titled, “(09) Lydia Fields: Weed-IT Systems for Chemical Fallow”
. Weed sensing sprayers function in real time through detection of differential reflectance, facilitated by near-infrared light. These sprayers are equipped with sensors on the spray boom that emit both red and near-infrared light. Chlorophyll in plants effectively absorbs red light, while reflecting near-infrared light. This creates a ratio that the sprayer uses to differentiate between bare ground, stubble, and plant material.
When a weed sensing sprayer detects a weed in the field, a signal triggers the opening of a solenoid valve at the nozzle. The opening solenoid causes for an increased functional rate of herbicide to be released from the nozzle in a spot spray fashion over the detected weed.
This technology has the potential to improve Eastern Washington fallow weed management in a few major ways: