Ag Engineer Develops Smart-Spray Technology To Help Reduce Fertilizer, Pesticides (Glades County News)

Ag Engineer Develops Smart-Spray Technology To Help Reduce Fertilizer, Pesticides

Growers need to spray efficiently so they can apply pesticides and fertilizer only to crops – and minimize the chemicals that may contaminate natural resources.

As they battle the economically devastating citrus greening disease, farmers must look to control costs wherever possible.

With that in mind, Yiannis Ampatzidis is engaging artificial intelligence to develop a low-cost, smart tree-crop sprayer that can automatically detect citrus trees, calculate their height and leaf density and count fruit. That way, the farmers target their spray more efficiently, so it lands on trees and leaves – and reduces chemical use by about 30%, compared to traditional spray methods.

“These smart technologies can save the fruit tree industry millions of dollars per year by optimizing chemical applications,” said Ampatzidis, a UF/IFAS associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center.

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