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Lalitha Vish  |  Jellicles Farm  |  Sunol , CA

Subject: Soil sampling rover and other farm bots

while working and doing my homework on my small acreage farm bot, i came across an interesting use case for automation in the field.

i spoke to the founder and got some details. It is made for soil core extraction and has a couple of depth/densities option.

85 acres/hour. 800 acres/day. 6 sample cores every 2.5 acres. It even sleeves the soil cores. GPS-RTK. Moves and selects grids. Will remember the spot so it will go back to same spot the next year. Tracked. 5500 lbs. works best in fall and spring.
Mine is a multi functional platform for a smal acreage(sun 100 acre) farm. Would like ideas on what else farmers would like such a roaming/mapping/sensing platform could do....and how many hours it would save in a farm block of 5 acres. The key is to be able to cram as many tasks in one pass. After talking to him, I realized that soil sampling is also a valuable function for a small farm bot. For example.... with strip tillage..ripping the planting area and injecting fertilizer and using a roller does many tasks in one pass. There are many functionalities that can be layered on my bot.
Yield prediction is another. How valuable is yield prediction to a farmer? How much is it worth it to know every week how many tomatoes or strawberries or citrus is ready for harvest. would Farmers pay for this? Would farmers be able to use this data to make money or negotiate better prices etc?
These are some of the things that I have added to my bot... i would like to hear other suggestions
1. Soil sampling
2. pest monitoring
3. vine de-leafing:
4. Mapping and laser leveling
5. measured fertilizer injecting
6. Selective sprayjng
http://7.retrieving samples(leaf, produce)
8. Flame weeding
9. Tree/plant hole digging with an auger
10. orchard spraying(night time)
11. Pest/disease prediction(monitoring outside perimeter for quarantines etc)
12. Yield prediction
13. Seed collection
14. Employee training(using something like google glass but its proving to be more difficult than i imagined)
of course mowing, seeding, but those are broad acre jobs. What else should I add so automation would help farmers? And how much would it save them?
What should be the minimum size? my design is a small tractor sized robot for every 5 acres. That’s the size I thought was optimal given multiple tasks. bigger farms can swarm multiple bots. It would likely cost 30-50k with some basic functions like mobility and mapping(I don’t want to offer robotics as a service.) and other programs can be added or like a subscription or download from the cloud for specific crops like pest details for a specific zone or time of the year. I also want to make it possible to sell data in a farmers market place where there will be buyers wanting farm data. I believe strongly that farm data belongs to the farmer even after produce leaves the farm and that the farmer is owed a share after value is added in the supply chain. That’s a little more tricky but I am working on it.
any input, suggestions and wishlist items? I would most appreciate it as it will help me build a better bot.
Thanks, Lalitha

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Comments 8
02/07/19
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  |  Jellicles Farm  |  Sunol , CA commented

Thanks, Hasan. That was valuable input. I agree that agrobotics is multi platform and multi disciplinary. There is no doubt that it is tough. Having said that, we ..as farmers..have an opportunity to influence the next paradigm shift in how the upcoming version of farming will shape up..when we went from horses to tractors, it changed everything. And then some more. At some point, farming became a domain that was out of reach of farmers‘ grasp...today conventional practices aid and also harm ag production. there is no kill switch to detect and deter excesses of erosion or tillage or chemical pollution or pest pressure.

There are two arenas. Where a new technology is born and the other is where it Is implemented. The impact of the act of farming the soil continues and is cumulative on soil, environment, water and even markets. And now as Ag changes again, farmers have a chance to speak up and taking

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02/12/19 8:19 AM
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  |  None  |  Sacramento commented

Interesting chain of posts and I've seen earlier ones as well starting from 2017. I would like to add a few pointers here and I hope this will inform some of the folks who have an interest in the AgRobotics domain and let everyone to understand about how easy or hard would be the implementation of robotics and AI into your open-field efforts.

I recently moved to California. Before moving here, I've been working in the domain quite a while and we had an Ag related projects -the name of the project and company aren't that important. We were developing the system end-to-end. In other words, we were developing almost everything including software, firmware, and hardware.

First of all, I should warn everybody that the fancy videos about the intelligent systems aren't there yet. Or cool looking demos are most of the time far from reality. We need at least 3-5 years to have better systems and algorithms to

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02/12/19 2:23 AM
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  |  Jellicles Farm  |  Sunol , CA commented

True. They do more than that. There is a lot of AI and ML involved(I saw the bot ..when they started out a year ago and their latest version. It’s massive and pretty impressive).

I have a monthly farm robotics meetup or hangout. During farm peak time, I try to send out at least a newsletter type of thing with updates and happenings in Agtech world. let me know if you are interested and I can include you in future communications.

02/11/19 12:27 PM
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  |  Terra Firma Farm  |  Winters, CA commented

I just found out about Farmwise. I think there is a huge market for their robots up here in the Sacto Valley but right now they are only operating on the coast. I contacted them to see if/when they are going to expand their services. I think weed control is probably one of the best markets for robotics in ag in California. Another will be orchard spraying and mowing. I would guess most almond orchards will be tended by robots within 10-15 years. It will be a huge market.

02/11/19 10:50 AM
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  |  Perennial Petals  |  Enfield, CT commented

Please take me off this email list...thank you.C. Bartolic 20 20
02/10/19 2:38 PM
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  |  Jellicles Farm  |  Sunol , CA commented

Thanks, Paul. What did you think of Farmwise? How many acres have they covered for you? Does it help you with operating costs?

02/10/19 1:30 PM
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  |  Terra Firma Farm  |  Winters, CA commented

02/08/19 6:30 PM
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  |  Jellicles Farm  |  Sunol , CA commented

http://www.agrointelli.com/ : I have also been talking to this Danish company. They are ready for roll out and might be interested in CA market. Please feel free to message me too.

02/07/19 1:23 PM

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