Weed Management Technology Survey Seeking Grower Feedback

Brian German Industry, Specialty Crops, Technology

A collaborative project involving several universities across the country seeks to further the development of non-herbicide weed management technology and approaches. As part of the project, industry members are being asked to participate in an online questionnaire. Assistant Professor of Vegetable Weed Science at Clemson University, Dr. Matthew Cutulle said the survey asks a variety of questions aimed at identifying overall grower interest.

Weed Management Technology

“In terms of the environmental factors, it’s going to ask for soil type, soil moisture, production size. But then also what specific types of autonomous weed control are they interested in? Is it precision spraying? Evaluation of novel actuators such as electrocution, or cryogenic based? Are they willing to cost share?” said Cutulle. “It’s just trying to gauge grower demographics and interest and trying to figure out what we can do to work with industry and try and increase the adoption of non-herbicide techniques in cole crops and leafy greens.”

The survey is part of a USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative planning grant. Information gathered through the questionnaire will be used to develop a multi-regional USDA grant proposal. Cutulle explained that data obtained through the survey will help guide research efforts toward viable weed management technology that farmers are most interested in. The project also seeks to identify environmental, physical, and economic barriers to adoption. A variety of personnel from different disciplines are involved in the project, in an effort to get a comprehensive understanding of where the industry is and what may be needed moving forward.

“Most of us didn’t have too much experience with robotic weed control, that’s why we contacted Steve Fennemore to see if he would participate in this planning grant,” Cutulle noted. “Most of us are weed scientists, but we have some engineers and we’re starting to get some economists on the team and that’s where this survey will really help out trying to figure out what gauge growers’ interests in specific technologies related to autonomous weed control.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West