DOI: 10.3390/agronomy14010088 ISSN: 2073-4395

A Sensor-Based Decision Model for Precision Weed Harrowing

Therese W. Berge, Frode Urdal, Torfinn Torp, Christian Andreasen
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

Weed harrowing is commonly used to manage weeds in organic farming but is also applied in conventional farming to replace herbicides. Due to its whole-field application, weed harrowing after crop emergence has relatively poor selectivity and may cause crop damage. Weediness generally varies within a field. Therefore, there is a potential to improve the selectivity and consider the within-field variation in weediness. This paper describes a decision model for precision post-emergence weed harrowing in cereals based on experimental data in spring barley and nonlinear regression analysis. The model predicts the optimal weed harrowing intensity in terms of the tine angle of the harrow for a given weediness (in terms of percentage weed cover), a given draft force of tines, and the biological weed damage threshold (in terms of percentage weed cover). Weed cover was measured with near-ground RGB images analyzed with a machine vision algorithm based on deep learning techniques. The draft force of tines was estimated with an electronic load cell. The proposed model is the first that uses a weed damage threshold in addition to site-specific values of weed cover and soil hardness to predict the site-specific optimal weed harrow tine angle. Future field trials should validate the suggested model.

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