How is it Different from Green-on-Brown Spraying?
In farming, green-on-brown and green-on-green spraying are terms not commonly thrown around. What do they mean, and why are they important? To fully understand, we must first explain the context of the two terms. Both have to do with managing weeds in agriculture.
Weed control is one of the largest crop input expenses for farmers. Other threats include pests, diseases, and animals. While a natural part of agriculture, encountering weeds is a danger to the health and yield of crops if allowed to grow uncontrolled. As a result, herbicides are necessary.
What are Herbicides?
Herbicides are pesticides used to control weeds to allow crops to flourish. Over the years, the application process has evolved with the accelerated growth of the AgTech (Technology for farming that improves efficiency and profitability) sector. Precision spraying with artificially intelligent drones like the ones Precision AI are developing to apply herbicides is just one of many leading innovations in the industry.
Herbicide application methods can take a few forms. The most common being boom sprayers and crop dusters, though backpack sprayers, misters and blanket wipers are known to be used. Some spraying techniques are more advanced than others, using technology to identify weeds among crops. Spraying only the weed within a crop is called precision spraying.
Green-on-Brown Spraying vs Green-on-Green Spraying
Green-on-brown spraying technology identifies plant matter in a field and targets them against the soil background. It explicitly uses color filters to differentiate green from brown soil, giving it the name green-on-brown technology. The time windows in agriculture that this technology is applied are pre-seed burn-off and post-harvest.
Pre-seed burn-off is spraying to kill weeds before seeding to prevent weeds from outcompeting crops for nutrients when they are planted. Post-harvest spraying kills weeds that have been missed during the pre-seed burn-off and in-crop spraying.
Both are times when weeds are the only vegetation growing in the field. If this technology were used during the in-crop season, it would target both crop and weed, diminishing the benefits of green-on-brown technology.
Green-on-green spraying takes advanced technology a step further. It successfully uses artificial intelligence to differentiate weed from crop – also called precision spraying. This allows growers to take their chemical savings further into the growing season. Through the work that AgTech companies are doing, this new concept has advanced significantly in recent years.
Developing artificially intelligent equipment for farmers to target weeds among crops is becoming a true reality and is no longer a far-off dream. It works by the AI scanning the field. It can differentiate weed and crop, targeting the weed only for herbicide application. In early prototypes, this mapping can be loaded into a traditional smart sprayer to then spray the targeted areas. However, recent advancements allow for real-time mapping and spraying capabilities.
Green-on-Green Spraying and The Future of Agriculture
While green-on-green spraying is highly effective, it is still in its infancy in the industry. Research shows that precision spraying can result in up to 70% reductions in the use of herbicides as weeds are targeted more accurately. Precision spraying benefits farmers and consumers in the long term due to healthier produce.
Cost-effective methods like green-on-brown and green-on-green spraying are essential to agribusiness. As the sophistication of farming technology increases, it accelerates the closure of the gap between where we are now and achieving global food security through sustainable agriculture.