OMAFRA horticulture weed specialist Kristen Obeid stands in front of a solar-powered FarmDroid, an autonomous cultivator weeder and seeder made in Denmark. It moves slowly, doesn’t need recharging and can handle almost 15 acres a day.
WOODSTOCK — There were daily demonstrations of robots at the Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock last month.
The odd-looking machines are increasing in popularity among field vegetable growers who prefer to lease them. All the robotics were provided by Haggerty AgRobotics, of Bothwell, in Western Ontario.
That’s not a Zamboni, it’s an actual weed-picking robot by Nexus Robotics, of Nova Scotia. Unlike other weeding robots that rely on dragging cultivator teeth, the Canadian-made Nexus moves at a walking pace and uses hand-like mechanical grabbers, with two metal pincers to pluck weeds from the soil. The machine can operate day or night.
The Naio Oz is the most popular robot weeder and sells for $60,000 and can be leased for $8,000 for a 16-week season from Haggerty AgRobotics.
This unit, the Naio Orio (above), is a high-precision weeder. The French-made robotic “platform” is equipped with a 3-point hitch, used for hauling cultivation equipment across the soil. The unit is typically used in the production of various vegetables and herbs. (Nelson Zandbergen photos)