Automated blossom thinner reduces orchard labour input

If there’s a consistent theme across new agriculture technology over the last few years it’s automation. From driverless tractors, to spot-spraying drones, automation is advancing quickly within the farming sector and for very good reasons.

Automation is best suited to replacing repetitive or labour-intensive tasks. It’s also a great fit for when precision matters — a computer can count and quantify an amazing array of things, from plant colour, to soil electrical conductivity and more, far faster than a human ever could.

Labour is a huge expense for the fruit industry, and companies such as Fruit-Tec, based in Germany, are combining existing equipment with sensors and automation to ease the labour burden.

Filmed at Agritechnica, Kelvin Heppner speaks with Tom Newman, with Fruit-Tec, to learn why and when fruit tree need blossoms thinned and how the Darwin SmaArt thinner works.


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