A Kansas farmer is using robots to help weed and mow crop fields in an effort to eliminate chemicals from farming.
Clint Brauer, the founder of Greenfield Robotics, created the robots with help from engineers. They weed and mow crop rows.
“When their crop comes up, they normally have to go in and spray chemicals, and so they spray them through the whole field,” Brauer said. “These robots actually go and eliminate most of that need between the rows.”
This is Greenfield Robotics’ second year with customers. Brauer said last year the robots worked 500 acres of land. This year, they are handling a few thousand acres.
“I think the sky’s the limit on the way technology can be used in farming,” he said.
Customer and farmer Torrey Ball said this is his second year working with the robots. He said they have improved immensely since last year.
“I’m not going to say they’re perfect yet,” Ball said. “But, if we can begin to eliminate chemicals or cut the use of them and take that money and spend on robots or some other way to help control weeds, that sounds good.”
Brauer also helped manage Kansas Maze’s sunflower field this summer. Owner Tonya Martisko said the robots weeded the field and carved a path for her annual 5K race at the same time.
“It’s saved us a ton of time, manpower, which we just were lacking on all of that this summer,” Martisko said.
The robots’ routes are pre-planned. Greenfield Robotics also sets up a rig near the fields where people watch the robots and repair them in case of emergency.
“I’m still a nervous wreck when I come out and watch these things going down the rows, you know,” Brauer said.
Brauer said his company has now partnered with MKC Cooperative. This means, among other improvements, the robots could travel to other states like Nebraska and Arkansas for work.
“I would guess by next year, if they improved by the amount they did from last year to this year, and then to next year, I’m guessing they’ll be doing a very good job,” Ball said.
Farmers can contact Brauer through Greenfield Robotics website, or clicking here. He said the process of mapping eligible fields begins in the winter.