New products

The autonomous robot for table grapes among the novelties of World Ag Expo

The Burro is a four-wheeled autonomous all-terrain vehicle that is used to help farm workers harvest and maintain table grape vineyards. Photos via World Ag Expo

published on February 3, 2022 – 14:18
Written by the staff of The Business Journal

At a time when labor is the most uncertain input to any business, investments in automation will make a splash at this year’s World Ag Expo in Tulare.

The World Ag Expo, which returns from February 8-10 after the cancellation of the 2021 show, has revealed the winners of its annual Top 10 New Product competition. While the makers of these products hail from across the country, a few hail from the Central Valley – and these have the express goal of bringing automation technology into the agricultural workflow.

A burro for grapes
New to the list of new World Ag Expo winners is Burro, an autonomous four-wheeled ATV that has been tested on local table grapes – one of the most labor intensive crops grown in the valley. of San Joaquín. The company’s CEO summarized the Burro’s core function as helping humans in the field in a September 2021 press release announcing a venture capital investment of $10.9 million.

“Many self-driving businesses starting out in agriculture have focused first on self-driving tractors, self-driving weeding and harvesting, where they try to fully automate incredibly difficult technical tasks, and often struggle to get started. ‘adapt to a large market – we started instead with collaborative people – scale robots that help people by moving heavy objects,” said Charlie Andersen, CEO of Burro. “The beauty of this approach is that we can evolve around a pervasive pain point in the most labor-intensive areas of agriculture today, while enabling our platform to capture data and learn more about many environments, allowing us to scale to countless other applications.”

The company planned to use the money to expand to more than 500 robots this year to meet demand from new and existing customers. By September, he had 90 robots in fields of table grapes covering 100 to 300 miles a day autonomously. It eliminates the need for a farmhand to walk several miles a day with a 250-pound wheelbarrow full of grapes. Instead, they can stand in the shade, pick and pack fruit on the Burro.

“Burros are already transforming worker productivity with one Burro allowing more than six people to harvest up to 48% more fruit per day for a payback of less than two months,” according to the new release.

As it scales in the $3 billion table grape market and seeks to expand into berries and nursery crops, it sees opportunity in the $1.2 trillion outside workforce in the United States where automation can address pressing challenges.

Burro was officially known as Augean Robotics, a robotics company based in Philadelphia. Founded in 2017, the company offers the only fully autonomous plug-and-play collaborative agricultural robot on the market. It is listed at the World Ag Expo as a company with operations in Kingsburg, and its California sales and service team is led by Chris Thiesen, who previously worked for Brandt Farms in vertically integrated Reedley, according to the site. Burro’s website.

Josue Ortega, a Fresno native and former Fresno High School chemistry teacher, teaches crews how to use the Burro, and Fresno State graduate Noe Toribio is a sales and service representative.

The Burro exhibit at World Ag Expo will be located at the GS6 space.

At 5ft 4in tall and 6ft wide, the Kingsburg-produced mini GUSS has a smaller profile than its predecessor, first shown at the World Ag Expo in 2017.

Presentation of the mini GUSS
Returning to the Top 10 New Products is a sleeker version of the GUSS self-contained sprayer produced in Kingsburg. The original GUSS (Global Unmanned Spray System) debuted at the World Ag Expo in 2017. It can be programmed to drive between rows of trees while spreading pesticides and other agricultural chemicals via a powerful fan in back. It uses GPS tracking and mounted lasers to steer.

The original GUSS was 6ft 4in tall and 8ft wide, while the mini GUSS lends itself to smaller scale grows at 5ft 4in tall and 6ft wide. New applications include vineyards, hops, blueberries and high density orchards.

The mini GUSS will be exhibited at the RD5 area of ​​the World Ag Expo.

InsightTRAC’s IT Rover is designed to pull almond ‘mummies’ – nuts left over after harvest. It uses biodegradable pellets to eliminate nuts that may harbor an invading pest.

Almond Mummies Hunt
The IT Rover by insightTRAC in Syracuse, Indiana is perhaps the most robotic of the new products. The ground robot walks through rows of orchards taking actions to reduce pests and collecting data that can be used to improve crop performance.

The IT Rover was originally intended for the almond industry to solve the problem of mummies or nuts remaining on trees after harvest and susceptible to infestation by the Navel Orangeworm, California’s main almond pest. .

Mummies are usually removed by shaking the trees with a mechanical harvester or by hand using a pole. The IT Rover roams an orchard spotting mummies with a camera and firing biodegradable pellets to remove them.

The IT Rover will be exhibited at the H26 area of ​​the World Ag Expo.

Other winners of the Top 10 New Products competition include:

Class 8 All-Electric Refrigerated Truck
Hummingbird EV
Livermore, California
Zero-emission refrigerated truck to manage the movement of agricultural goods at every stage of the supply chain, from farm to consumer.
Space: SS103, SS105

New intelligent autonomous robot
Naϊo Technologies
Salinas, California
The World Ag Expo will showcase the revelation of the robot that uses artificial intelligence to autonomously remove weeds from large vegetable plots.
Space: NS4

Clip Plugs by Rain Bird
Azusa, California
A clip that helps save water by utilizing a unique ratchet closure mechanism allowing growers to close emitter outlets when using drip irrigation.
Space: I35

Electric tractor E70N
Santa Rosa, California
The Solectrac E70N is a 100% battery-powered electric tractor capable of delivering up to 70 equivalent horsepower, specifically designed for vineyards, orchards and commercial farms.
Space: Demonstration space n° 2

TJ Hoof Hub
TJ Hoof Care
Waterford, California
TJ Hoof Hub is promoted as a revolutionary and comprehensive mobile data management solution for the cattle hoof trimming industry, giving trimmers the ability to digitally document all their work for customers.
Space: DX32

Parallel Teat
On-farm solutions
Christchurch, New Zealand
The Teatwand Parallel is the world’s first and only automated ‘parallel’ parlor teat spray system. The system uses a gantry system to transport each spray arm into the milking parlor to precisely spray cows’ teats before and after milking.
Space: Farm Credit Dairy Center 6220, 6221, 6222

Tule Vision
Tule Technologies
Davis, California
Tule Vision is an iPhone app that uses artificial intelligence to allow users to take and track midday leaf water potential readings in vineyards.
Space: Pavilion B 2017