Farmers have been extra busy lately with the harvest, but really they’re pulling plants out of the ground most of the time.
It’s just that some of them are weeds rather than useful crops.
There’s a new way to make that part of the job a lot easier: it’s a robot that uses lasers.
Farming has been getting more and more high tech in recent years, but planting, growing, harvesting and selling crops is still a lot of hard work.
And part of that work is making sure that fast-growing weeds don’t crowd out the cash crops.
But pulling all those weeds by hand takes time out of a busy day, and that’s if you have enough people to do it.
The alternative is using some kind of weed-killer, but many of them raise environmental concerns.
The LaserWeeder, from ag tech company Carbon Robotics, is an alternative.
It’s a self-driving weed control robot that can roll through fields.
Farmers can set geofences so it knows where to go.
As it rolls through the field, making sure to steer clear of any crops, its lidar system scans for weeds that aren’t supposed to be in that field.
When it finds weeds, it zaps them.
The company says the LaserWeeder can get rid of 200,000 weeds an hour.
At that rate my yard would be weed-free in, oh, ten years.
Plus, it’s easier on the soil than using chemicals, and because it runs itself, it saves on labor costs.
Carbon Robotics says it essentially pays for itself after two to three years.
It can even run at night, so when the rooster crows, a farmer can get up out of bed, pour a cup of coffee and get ready for a day of working in some very weed-free fields.
Halloween in Hiawatha, Kansas is always a big deal.
The town says it’s home to the longest continuously held Halloween parade in the U.S., which dates back to 1914.
But that’s not all.
It’s also hosting The Great Pumpkin Relay.
At the local high school track, teams will run a collective mile, while carrying a pumpkin the whole time.
I hope nobody misses their handoffs in that race.
This new farming robot uses lasers to kill 200,000 weeds per hour (Interesting Engineering)
City of Hiawatha October 2022 newsletter (City of Hiawatha)
Screenshot from video by Carbon Robotics