BUNDABERG growers were given a glimpse into the very present future at a farm robot and drone technology workshop last week.
Hosted by Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers and the National Vegetable Extension Network Project (VegNET), the demonstration took place at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Research Facility where guests got to see the weed-controlling Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application (RIPPA) in action, plus a DJI Matrice 100 drone.
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The demonstration was a follow-up to the Future Farming Masterclasses held at AgroTrend this year.
Funded by Hort Innovation, RIPPA is a robotic prototype developed by researchers at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics for vegetable crops.
It has the capacity to collect field data in crop rows using sensors and undertake autonomous weed control and fertiliser application.
RIPPA has been touring the country doing demonstrations but this was its first visit to Bundaberg.
BFVG’s vegetable industry development officer, Michelle Haase, said the technology was about farmers working smarter.
"Ultimately, the RIPPA project is looking at ways to reduce cost inputs for vegetable growers, through the use of automation for weeding labour, and application of fertilisers and herbicides,” Ms Haas said.