Agri Evolution Unveils KULT iScan: Next-Gen AI-Powered Hoeing

In a significant development for precision agriculture, Dutch KULT-Kress importer Agri Evolution has expanded its offerings with the introduction of the KULT iScan hoe, a sophisticated tool designed for in-row hoeing. This new addition joins the iSelect hoeing machine in Agri Evolution’s portfolio, both originating from the German manufacturer KULT-Kress. While the hoeing techniques of both machines bear similarities, the camera technology that drives their operation sets them apart.

The iSelect hoeing machine, equipped with cameras from Tillett & Hague, measures the leaf surface area to differentiate between crops and weeds. This method is particularly effective in planted crops such as lettuce, leafy vegetables, and brassicas, where the developmental advantage of the crops over germinating weeds is significant. However, this technology encounters limitations in sown crops where the leaf surface area of the crops and weeds are often indistinguishable, rendering the camera system less effective.

In contrast, the KULT iScan hoe leverages advanced camera technology from Ullmann, incorporating both 2D and 3D imaging alongside artificial intelligence (AI). This sophisticated system allows the iScan to precisely identify the center of each cultivated plant, even under high weed pressure. The 2D camera captures the crop’s image while the 3D camera assesses the plant’s height and distance from the ground. The AI component further enhances the system’s adaptability, learning and improving with each new crop scanned.

“The KULT-Kress iScan allows us to specify the crop we are hoeing and scan it with the cameras to target weeds around the plant. Even with high weed pressure, we can hoe 80 to 90% of the weeds in the row,” explains Marten Hulzebos, owner-director of Agri Evolution. This high level of precision is achieved through the hydraulic movement of the hoeing blades, which can be adjusted for aggressiveness using a throttle. The system requires an oil flow of 20 liters per minute, although electric operation is also an option. According to Hulzebos, hydraulic operation is preferred for its speed, strength, and cost-effectiveness.

One of the iScan’s notable features is its adaptability to different row spacings, thanks to each crop row being individually assessed by its dedicated camera. However, the width of the camera element imposes a minimum row spacing of 35 centimeters, with the maximum spacing extending up to 1.5 meters. This flexibility makes the iScan suitable for a variety of crops and planting configurations.

The introduction of the KULT iScan hoe represents a significant advancement in the field of precision agriculture. The integration of AI and sophisticated camera technology not only enhances the efficiency of weed control but also reduces the need for manual labor and chemical herbicides, contributing to more sustainable farming practices. The initial investment for a 4-row KULT-Kress iScan hoe, including finger weeders, starts at €125,000, positioning it as a premium solution for large-scale farming operations seeking to leverage cutting-edge technology for crop management.

As the agricultural sector continues to embrace technological innovations, tools like the KULT iScan hoe are poised to play a crucial role in enhancing productivity and sustainability. The ongoing development and refinement of AI-driven systems promise even greater precision and adaptability in the future, underscoring the transformative potential of technology in modern farming.

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