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Evaluation and Economics of a Machine-Vision Guided Cultivation Program in Broccoli and Lettuce

  • Steven A. Fennimore (a1), Laura Tourte (a2), John S. Rachuy (a1), Richard F. Smith (a3) and Christina George (a4)...

Machine-vision cultivator guidance systems are commercially available to growers, but little work has been done to determine if these guidance systems can improve integrated weed management systems in vegetable crops. Studies were conducted in 2005 and 2006 in broccoli and lettuce to evaluate band-applied DCPA or pronamide, respectively, and four noncultivated bands ranging from 5.1 to 12.7 cm. DCPA or pronamide were applied in bands centered on the seed line at 0, 7.6 or 12.7 cm wide. A commercial machine-vision system was used to guide a commercial cultivator. Generally, weed densities and hand-weeding times were less where the DCPA band in broccoli or the pronamide band in lettuce were 7.6 or 12.7 cm wide compared to no herbicide. Weed densities were lowest in both crops where the noncultivated band width was 5.1 cm compared to 12.7-cm noncultivated bands. For broccoli in both 2005 and 2006, net returns above production costs were generally higher in the 7.6- and 12.7-cm-wide DCPA bands compared with the no-herbicide band. In lettuce in both years, the no-pronamide treatment had higher net returns, when compared with the 7.6- and 12.7-cm pronamide bands. Lettuce yields and higher net returns in the no-pronamide treatment compared to the 7.6- and 12.7-cm pronamide bands may be due to slight yield reduction from pronamide. Results suggest that pronamide was not needed during the dry months of the year when weed management tools such as hand-weeding and cultivation work very well. However, in periods of rainy weather when cultivation and hand-weeding are not possible, then pronamide would likely provide the greatest economic benefit. Given the large impact of cultivation on vegetable weed management programs, the greatest potential benefit of machine-vision guided cultivators is if they facilitate more timely and effective cultivation.

En el mercado para agricultores, varios sistemas automatizados de guía mecánica para el cultivo están disponibles, pero muy poca investigación ha sido llevada a cabo para determinar si estas guías pueden mejorar los sistemas de manejo integrado de maleza en los cultivos de vegetales. En 2005 y 2006 se llevaron a cabo estudios enfocados en brócoli y lechuga para evaluar DCPA aplicado en banda o el uso de pronamide, respectivamente. Como testigo, se incluyeron cuatro bandas no cultivadas de 5.1 a 12.7 cm. El DCPA o el pronamide se aplicaron en bandas en el lomo de los surcos en rangos de 0, 7.6 o 12.7 cm de ancho. Un sistema automatizado (Machine-Vision) fue utilizado para guiar el cultivador comercial. Generalmente, las densidades de maleza y el tiempo utilizado para el deshierbe manual fueron menores en donde la aplicación del DCPA en la línea de brócoli o el pronamide en la lechuga fue mediante bandas de 7.6 o 12.7 cm de ancho comparado con el testigo donde no se aplicó herbicida. Las densidades de maleza fueron menores en ambos cultivos donde el ancho de la banda no cultivada fue de 5.1 cm comparada con 12.7 cm de las bandas no cultivadas. Para el brócoli, tanto en 2005 como en 2006, las utilidades sobre los costos de producción fueron generalmente más altas en las bandas DCPA de 7.6 y 12.7 cm de ancho, comparadas con los testigos sin herbicida. Con respecto a la lechuga, en ambos años, el tratamiento sin pronamide tuvo mayores utilidades, cuando se comparó con las bandas de 7.6 y 12.7 cm con pronamide. Los rendimientos y las mayores utilidades de la lechuga en los tratamientos sin pronamide comparados con la aplicación de pronamide en bandas de 7.6 y 12.7 cm podrían deberse a una leve reducción en el volumen de la cosecha a partir del uso de pronamide. Los resultados sugieren que el uso de pronamide no fue necesario durante los meses secos del año cuando otros recursos para el manejo de maleza como el deshierbe manual y el barbecho funcionan muy bien. Sin embargo, en la temporada de lluvias cuando el barbecho y el deshierbe manual no son posibles, el uso del pronamide podría proporcionar el mayor beneficio económico. Tomando en cuenta el gran impacto que tienen los programas de manejo de maleza en el cultivo de vegetales, el mayor beneficio potencial de los cultivadores automatizados es que facilitan un manejo del cultivo oportuno y efectivo.

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Weed Technology
  • ISSN: 0890-037X
  • EISSN: 1550-2740
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