Black-Grass Detection and Mapping Service Announced

At LAMMA 13 Project URSULA announced a black-grass weed detection and mapping service to help reduce spraying, and save money.

It will also help farmers and growers when making future crop management decisions.

Black-grass is present in about 50% of the UK wheat growing area and is now thought to be present in more than 38% of all UK fields. It occurs in patches, has a significant impact on yield and is expensive to treat. Due to the difficulties associated with dealing with grass weeds such as black-grass, it is increasingly necessary to map infestation to inform future crop management decisions and precisely direct pre-emergence herbicide applications in following seasons.

From May 2012 onwards Project URSULA was able to detect black-grass in fields of wheat and map it with precision. Blanket spraying is costly, not environmentally sound and increases black-grass resistance. Using a precise weed map derived from URSULA imagery, variable rate application to affected areas offers an attractive alternative. The availability of direct injection sprayers to apply high concentrations of herbicide at precisely the right locations has obvious advantages over blanket spraying. The cost saving on herbicide alone could be as much as 90%. URSULA is also working on detection in other crops such as oilseed rape and the current crop of winter wheat.

For the past two years URSULA has carried out a continuous flying and data collection programme using its own unmanned aerial system (UAS). This has taken place over arable farms in England and Wales focusing on a number of crop varieties including winter wheat, vining peas, oilseed rape, sugar beet, and potatoes. Through a combination of sensors and cameras together with advanced remote sensing techniques and know how, URSULA is continuing to support sustainable agriculture. We do this by delivering timely, actionable, state of the crop intelligence and data to farmers and growers with the ultimate aims of saving money and improving yield.

Read more about URSULA

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