In response to the rising costs and risk to profitability, Karin knew she needed to take action to ensure they were efficiently using both chemicals and labour resources, thus a project was formed to test precision dosing of agrichemicals. The project team consisted of Karin and Jacques from Cluver Farm, Outfield Operations engineer Dylan Henstock, Agrimotion Consultant Mico Stander and James Reid from Red Ant Spray systems.
Karin used Outfield’s proprietary platform to create custom drone flight plans allowing her to capture data across the orchard in under 30 minutes. Outfield processed the data as it was uploaded and returned fruit loading and tree size maps, pinpointing both where the fruit was loaded across the orchard and the size of the trees. These maps were then provided to Agrimotion who, adding satellite data, were then able to make recommendations on agrichemical input and create compatible files to be used in the Red Ant variable rate Sprayer.
In a matter of days, the team headed out to one of Cluver’s Pink Lady orchards to see the system in action. Jacques, the farm manager had prepared the sprayer and tractor prior to arrival and once there, the only job left to do was load the precision map and the driver was off.
The maps were interpreted perfectly, the sprayer switched on and off when required with a high level of accuracy.
In previous years, due to the difficulty and time consuming nature of collecting data to cover the block, the entire orchard would be sprayed; a costly task in terms of labour, chemicals and fuel. This year, using the insight from Outfields Maps, Agrimotions recommendations and the Red Ant machine, Cluver Farms have saved 52% on fuel costs, 51% on labour costs, and 53% on the cost of agrichemicals.
In addition to significant cost savings, this greater level of insight into the entire block has enabled Jacques and Karin to have a greater understanding of variability across their orchard, share the data with confidence amongst staff members and make management decisions accordingly.
Half the time. Half the cost. The whole picture.