WeedSeeker System Enables Chilean Vineyard to See 50 Percent Savings in Herbicide Costs
Jose Diaz, a farm manager at the Santa Carolina vineyard in central Chile, used the Trimble® WeedSeeker® spot spray system to control unwanted shoot growth in the vineyard. Leaves growing at the base of the grapevines steal energy away from the fruit. By eliminating these leaves, more of the plant’s nutrients can be utilized by the grapes.
Initially, Diaz is using the WeedSeeker system on 30 hectares of the vineyard. His Trimble reseller, Sargent, used a tractor outfitted with the WeedSeeker units to spray the vines in two applications—one at the beginning of the season when the leaves first began appearing, and then again to catch the second round of leaf growth.
As a result of using the WeedSeeker system, Diaz saw a savings in both personnel and herbicide costs and experienced greater autonomy related to the herbicide tank. “With WeedSeeker, I was able to double the area covered using the same tank of herbicide,” said Diaz. “In the past, I would have to refill the tank every two hectares, but with WeedSeeker I was able to spend less hours per day refilling the tank.”
The WeedSeeker system senses if a weed (or other unwanted foliage) is present and signals a spray nozzle to deliver a precise amount of chemical—spraying only the foliage and not the bare ground. As a result, growers can save on chemical usage by applying precisely and in lower amounts, reduce environmental impact, cut down on time and labor, and operate day or night.
Diaz hopes to purchase the WeedSeeker system in the future to be used on the vineyard’s tractor for spraying shoot growth at the bottom of the vines, as well as for the vineyard’s ATV to spray weeds growing in between the rows.