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Nordzucker Post 04/2021 - 21 July 2021

Field trials 2021

Nordzucker is conducting a series of forward-looking trials as part of the Smart Beet Initiative. This year, further experience was gained with robots in weed control. The systems have advanced significantly, but there is still a lot of detailed work to be done.

In a special project with several partners, including Nordzucker, weeds are to be controlled in future by using lasers. Weeds close to the sugar beet will be detected with cameras and burnt with a laser beam. These systems require image recognition systems and enormous computer power to differentiate between the weeds and the sugar beet. The trials to maintain mulch sowings in the event of a possible ban on the active ingredient glyphosate (Round Up) are very important for crop rotation and safeguarding beet cultivation. With mulch sowing, soil is only worked shallowly and more material that is organic remains on the surface. Thus, mulch sowings contribute significantly to stabilising the soil and preventing erosion. Different approaches are being tested in trials.

Further trials are looking into the question: How can we maintain or even increase yields with fewer plant protection products? Especially the combination of hoeing and band spraying seem to provide good approaches here. The use of plant protection products can be significantly reduced, as plant protection products are only used in the row. Between the rows, weeds are removed mechanically. This is a forward-looking and environmentally friendly development in crop protection. The aim is to treat the rows with large-scale (RTK_GPS controlled) trailed sprayers and to carry out hoeing in a separate operation.

Nordzucker will evaluate the trials after the harvest. The results will then be presented at the Agricenter’s winter meetings and on the AgriPortal.

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