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Machinery & Equipment

DJI Agras T50 and T25. (Image source: DJI)

DJI Agriculture recently announced the international launch of the Agras T50 and Agras T25 drones, both compatible with the upgraded SmartFarm app, which offers powerful features for comprehensive aerial application management

Building on the popular Agras drone line, the T50 offers unmatched efficiency for larger-scale growing operations, while the lightweight T25 is designed to be more portable for smaller fields.

Agras T50

Well known for its efficiency and stability, the Agras T50 inherits a coaxial dual-rotor design and 54-inch propellers for next-level stability when carrying 40kg spraying or 50kg spreading payloads, which enables efficient spraying of up to 50 acres per hour. T50's dual atomisation spraying system, with an increased flow rate of up to 16 liters per minute with two sprinklers and adjustable-sized spray droplets, is ideal for a variety of applications from fields to orchards. Easily converted to its spreading configuration, the T50 can carry 50 kg of dry granules and spread at a flow rate of up to 108 kg/min. This combination of power, precision, and versatility sets T50 apart as a top choice in agricultural drones, designed to meet the evolving needs of modern farming.

Notable features of the Agras T50 include:

  • An upgraded four-antenna O3 Transmission system extending the remote controller-drone connection up to 2 km. To extend transmission range and stability, users can deploy a DJI Relay while operating in complex environments like mountains.
  • Dual Active Phased Array Radars and binocular vision sensors that work together to accurately reconstruct the T50's surroundings and detect nearby obstacles, for intelligent obstacle sensing and bypassing, and terrain following over slopes.
  • An additional pair of centrifugal sprinklers, increasing flow rate to 24 liters per minute. This benefits tasks like orchard spraying that require a higher flow rate to penetrate dense canopies and treat the fronts and backs of leaves.
  • A DB1560 Intelligent Flight Battery, with a capacity of up to 30 Ah and 1500 charge cycles. The D12000iEP Multifunctional Inverter Generator paired with the Air-Cooled Heat Sink enables nine-minute fast charging, allowing for continuous operations with a pair of batteries.

Agras T25

Packing all the advanced features of the T50 into a smaller, portable design, the Agras T25 can carry a 20 kg spraying or 25 kg spreading payload and includes the T50's top features like multidirectional obstacle avoidance, Terrain Following, ultra-fast battery charging, one-tap takeoffs, and automatic operations. This makes it perfect for solo use in small to medium-sized farms.

DJI SmartFarm

Streamlining daily drone operations for crop protection and plot management, the GJI SmartFarm app comes with enhanced data visualisation and reporting, a dynamic device management dashboard, and easy access to after sales support and learning resources on DJI Academy

The Agras T50 and T25 can now be reserved starting 25 April.

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NPHarvest’s hardware can catch up to 90% of the excess but valuable nutrients from wastewater. (Image source: NPHarvest)

Finnish startup, NPHarvest has raised US$2.2mn to take its proprietary nutrient catcher machine to the market

While nutrient fertilisers are essential for securing food production, excessive amounts of fertilisers—particularly nitrogen and phosphorus—which end up in the environment through wastewater or nutrient leaching from agricultural areas, pollute the ground and cause eutrophication in seas and lakes. This in turn causes an overgrowth of algae and weeds, especially toxic blue-green algae, which depletes oxygen and is a threat to animal life. Overaccumulation of nutrients might also result in nutrient deficiencies in plants. 

NPHarvest's nutrient catcher which is installed in wastewater management systems, enables the separation and collection of excess nutrients from concentrated wastewaters. These can then be recycled and sold back to the fertiliser industry, thus making businesses more profitable, mitigating eutrophication and enhancing local food security. The hardware can catch up to 90% of the excess but valuable nutrients from wastewater. Once the technology has separated the nutrients, they can be taken back to the fertiliser companies. NPHarvest’s process also uses very little energy, as it does not require heating or pressure increase, thereby reducing the costs of the process even further.

The new funding will allow NPHarvest to build the first commercially ready nutrient catcher, ready to be installed in their clients’ facilities. Moreover, by keeping the production costs as low as possible, the nutrient catcher can scale to different use cases and fit different facilities, thanks to the process' modular design. 

“No one has done nutrient catching on a real commercial level, which made us as foodtech investors impressed with NPHarvest and its unique technology," said Mika Kukkurainen, partner at Nordic Foodtech VC. "Ensuring food security while protecting the environment is one of the top priorities in the food system. NPHarvest´s technology has what it takes to combine these aspects in a very interesting business model.”  

Development engineer of Swedish NSVA, Northwest Skåne Water and Wastewater, Hamse Kjerstadius also stated that NPHarvest’s technology for nitrogen and phosphorus recovery had the potential to allow increased nutrient recovery from wastewater. This was seen as a promising method that could aid municipalities in reaching reduced climate impacts.

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Research from WWF and Tesco shows that around 15% of all food produced, is lost on farms during, around and after harvest worldwide annually. (image source: Adobe Stock)

WWF in partnership with the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), has launched the new Global Farm Loss tool, enabling growers of all sizes to measure and report on-farm food loss with ease and accuracy

By providing actionable insights, the tool enables growers and buyers to map their current loss levels and develop new channels to utilise more of what is grown. The tool—which can be used for all crops, particularly fruits, vegetables and tree nuts—is capable of estimating the surplus left behind in-field post-harvest and at further stages across a farm’s operations. Apart from being user-friendly, the platform provides a simplified approach to help farmers and their buyers identify and address the cause of their on-farm food loss and its associated impacts, such as scope 3 emissions.

“We need visibility to identify food loss hotspots and understand the reason behind them,” said senior director of Food Loss and Waste at WWF, Pete Pearson. “The Global Farm Loss Tool is designed to be part of that solution, helping fill the crucial gap of tracking primary and actionable food loss data at the farm level of global supply chains.”

With adequate support from the CGF, the tool has also been beta tested through the Food Waste Coalition, which is closely aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3 and aims to halve global food loss and waste by 2030. Working with Coalition members, the CGF and WWF will continue to assess the impact of the new tool, reviewing how to improve the tool’s user experience, expand its utility in the field and for more food types across the global supply chain, and promote its usage to new growers and suppliers.

Director of Health and Sustainability at the CGF, Sharon Bligh highlighted the importance of growers in ensuring the sustainability of a food system. “The CGF is committed to supporting our members to help growers in their supply chains to track, address and ultimately reduce the footprint of agriculture. This data is essential for accelerating our transition to a more efficient and circular food system,” said Bligh. The Global Farm Loss Tool is compatible with existing reporting programmes, including World Resources Institute’s (WRI) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Food Loss Index, among others.

It is now available free of charge to growers and farmers worldwide at: 

The partnership marks a significant milestone in the agriculture sector. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Orchard harvest equipment manufacturer, Flory Industries and leading orchard harvest autonomy provider, Bonsai Robotics have recently announced their collaboration to develop a product which will be unveiled at the upcoming World Ag Expo, scheduled to be held in the city of Tulare, California next year

Focusing on nut sweepers, Flory's Super V sweeper is already arguably the most efficient piece of nut harvesting equipment available today. With the integration of Bonsai's technology, it is expected to enhance the operator's productivity even more, while also reducing operational costs, and increasing sustainability in farming practices. By combining Flory's extensive experience and market presence with Bonsai's innovative technological prowess, this partnership therefore, marks a significant milestone in the agriculture sector.

"At Bonsai, we are thrilled to partner with Flory, a company that shares our vision for the future of agriculture," said CEO of Bonsai Robotics, Tyler Niday. "This collaboration allows us to bring our advanced robotics technology to a wider market, revolutionising how farming is done. The Super V sweeper is just the beginning of what we believe will be a transformative era in agricultural technology."

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Robot crowd-puller at the DLG Field Days 2022 at the Kirschgartshausen trial farm in Mannheim. (Image source: DLG)

The FarmRobotix platform celebrates premiere at the DLG Feldtage 2024, which will take place from 11-13 June at the estate Brockhof in Germany

Aimed at farmers, manufacturers, start-ups and technology providers, FarmRobotix offers an international platform farmers and experts seeking compact and comprehensive information on the latest developments in robotics, AI, automation and digital solutions in crop production. Moreover, besides the option to explore innovative technologies, the platform also offers networking and knowledge sharing opportunities to representatives from science and research as well as development engineers, investors and venture capitalists. 

With a focus on farming requirements for digital technologies, FarmRobotix plays a role in solving the challenges that lie in the application of digital and autonomous technologies in crop farming. For instance, although a plethora of digital solutions are available to farmers for performing crop cultivation tasks, each digital solution provider supplies a customised software system to use the digital tools and data. Therefore, their application requires prior knowledge on part of the user. 

This is where the FarmRobotix system comes into picture. Florian Schiller, an expert in digitalisation at the International DLG Crop Production Centre (IPZ) in Bernburg, Saxony-Anhalt, explained that the FarmRobotix platform could play a role in providing impetus in the dialogue between farmers, manufacturers and science in order to make the digital applications of different manufacturers compatible with each other. 

Schiller further explained the complexity faced by robots in crop cultivation, since the difficulty level of the tasks to be performed by agricultural robots was comparatively greater than the tasks involved in industrial production. 

DLG’s IPZ farm is part of several research projects on digitalisation and AI in crop production, including the NaLamKI project funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs. NaLamKI which stands for ‘Sustainable Agriculture with AI,’ is aimed at developing AI services for agriculture, capable of analysing data from conventional and autonomous agricultural machinery, satellites and drones, combining them in a software service platform and make the results accessible through open interfaces. 

As an associated partner in the project, the IPZ is working on the early detection of fungal diseases in wheat using AI. The aim of AI-supported detection of fungal diseases, which is being researched in the NaLamKI project, is to use multi- and hyperspectral image analysis to establish when a fungal infection has taken place in a crop. Apart from fungal pathogens however, the spectral properties of the leaf surface are influenced by a variety of external factors such as drought or plant nutrition. 

"It is therefore always crucial for AI systems that the data delivers accurate information about the properties to be recognised,” said Schiller. “Otherwise, AI models do not reflect what they are supposed to provide information about.”

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