Vegetation management in wild blueberry production using spectral and guidance system technologies

D.C. Percival, G.L. Brown, T. Harrington
To remain competitive in a global economy, increased emphasis has been placed on developing technologies for use in wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) production that apply pest control products in a precise manner only to targeted areas of interest. Vegetation management trials conducted during 2013 with the use of 21, WeedSeeker® Model 650 sensors and associated control system used in tandem with a John Deere Starfire™ receiver and GreenStar™ 3 2630 display. When herbicides were applied prior to the emergence of the wild blueberry shoots, use of the WeedSeeker® system resulted in 91% of the weed control and 71% less herbicide being used than treatments that had herbicides applied to the entire surface area of the plot. However, adequate management of competing vegetation was also dependent upon knowledge of the weed species present and their respective growth and development characteristics as well as the selection of an appropriate weed control treatment. The weeds that were most common in the field sites included sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), goldenrod (Solidago canadensis and Euthamia graminifolia), fescue grasses (Festuca spp.) and poverty oat grass (Danthonia spicata). In addition to providing an effective overall weed management tool, the system also provided a more effective and reduced risk means of controlling difficult to manage weed species.
Percival, D.C., Brown, G.L. and Harrington, T. (2016). Vegetation management in wild blueberry production using spectral and guidance system technologies. Acta Hortic. 1130, 663-668
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1130.98
weed control, Vaccinium angustifolium, automated herbicide application

Acta Horticulturae