Tom Wolf’s sprayer tech takeaways from Agritechnica ’23

Tom Wolfe (centre) with RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney and producer Jason Stroeve at Agritechnica ’23.

Agritechnica can be like Christmas for someone who closely follows new developments in agriculture technology, as the relevant companies from around the world show off their latest innovations at the show.

The RealAgriculture team caught up with our friend and spraying expert Tom Wolf of Sprayers101 to discuss his observations on the ground in Germany.

While there were a handful of companies offering spot-spraying concepts at the last Agritechnica in 2019, artificial intelligence-driven spraying technology has since gone mainstream, notes Wolf.  (continue reading below)

“We’re maybe in the euphoric stage of spot spraying. Everybody’s got it on their product, but are they actually delivering on accuracy and reliability and a cost that is actually going to have resonance in the marketplace? We don’t even know that yet,” he says.

There are also questions still to be answered when it comes to rules and product label changes for new spot spraying technologies.

Speaking of environmental regulations, they continue to drive sprayer innovation in the European market, but Germany’s subsidies for sprayers that meet environmental standards end in 2024, says Wolf. While the German government program has supported manufacturing capacity for sprayers with features such as closed transfer systems and recirculating booms, he sees a trend of European manufacturers looking for sales volume elsewhere, likely bringing new competition on innovation and price to North America.

Drone spraying is another area that’s in the euphoric phase in the technological cycle, says Wolf, with many companies — particularly manufacturers from Asia — displaying their latest unmanned aerial machines. There’s a reason Asian countries lead the adoption of drone spraying — it’s often replacing high-exposure spraying by hand, he explains. The value of drone spraying has been harder to prove in North America and Europe with modern sprayer cabs keeping operators safe, while drone spraying has not met the standard set by boom sprayers for spray uniformity and capacity, notes Wolf.

Check out the interview above for more insights from Tom on what he saw at Agritechnica ’23, or check out his thread on X below. Click here for more reports from Agritechnica.

RealAgriculture’s coverage of Agritechnica is brought to you by Optimum Gly, a new canola trait technology from Corteva Agriscience.  

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