Trends in crop protection technology for potato cultivation

Compared to cereal farming, plant protection in potato cultivation often places significantly higher demands on application, handling and cleaning.

Quick and safe filling and cleaning

The UX trailed sprayer in work

High consumption rates in potato cultivation also mean more refilling. In addition to a high-performance filling pump, the bowl is of prime importance here, in order to keep the filling times as short as possible. The high extraction rates of more than 230 l/min mean that the plant protection agents are reliably extracted. An additional mixing nozzle under the extraction opening of the bowl ensures that both liquid and powder-form agents are dispersed in an optimum manner during intake, thereby creating a homogeneous mixture in the tank.

Rinsing the canister of products which are difficult to dissolve is of great importance for environmental protection. Deposits which can only be removed by the canister rinse nozzles with difficulty, appear frequently, especially at the neck of the canister. Additional pressure plates under the cleaning nozzle help effectively to remove these deposits. 

Induction bowl

Neat and precise metering of plant protection agents is made considerably easier by the large collection facility integrated in the lid of the induction bowl. Subsequent cleaning of this collection facility is important. During the cleaning procedure for the induction bowl, the collection facility integrated in the lid of the induction bowl is automatically washed as well, and all the plant protection agent is taken back into the sprayer without any losses. A big advantage is that the entire internal cleaning process of the induction bowl is carried out in the closed state. 
An automatic filling stop reliably prevents overfilling of the sprayer. 

XtremeClean jet cleaner


Thorough cleaning of the sprayer is essential after the application is complete. The XtremeClean jet cleaner provides effective internal tank cleaning, even with the most stubborn of deposits. Smooth tank internal walls and an open tank design, without baffle plates, make internal tank cleaning considerably easier. Automatic remotely-controlled cleaning programmes are integrated in the machine software of the crop protection sprayer as standard with the Comfort Pack.

High agitation intensity
Deposits can form while driving to the field and when carrying out the application, especially in the case of high-volume tank capacities. A powerful actively-controlled agitator is essential here. The agitator control system regulates the agitation intensity depending on the tank level. The agitation intensity is automatically reduced as the fill level drops until it comes to a complete stop, in order to prevent foaming when the fill level is low, and to minimise the residues. 

Self-cleaning filter technology
Reliable application is a major concern in crop protection treatment. Self-cleaning filters guarantee reliable operation under all conditions.

Active boom guidance with ContourControl

ContourControl with negative boom angling

The ContourControl automatic active boom guidance guarantees absolutely precise target surface distancing during application in potato cultivation. The ContourControl boom guidance is based on a fast-acting hydraulic system. All hydraulic functions are controlled from a central hydraulic accumulator in the boom in this system, in order to ensure exceptionally short reaction times. The extremely responsive hydraulic system enables working speeds of more than 15 km/h. 

SwingStop active vibration damping  
In potato cultivation, the boom is subjected to enormous stress in the horizontal direction from external influences such as uneven terrain, cornering, acceleration and increasing the working speed. This can cause the boom outriggers to oscillate, which has an extremely negative impact on the longitudinal distribution in the outer section of the boom. AMAZONE offers innovative active vibration damping in a horizontal direction, in order to reduce these oscillations. SwingStop measures the acceleration in the boom outriggers via acceleration sensors, in order to reduce these horizontal oscillations. The two hydraulic cylinders in the boom suspension actively compensate for these oscillations and thereby provide an extremely smooth horizontal
boom ride.

Precision with AmaSelect individual nozzle control

Electric individual nozzle control with 50 cm part-width section

The AmaSelect electric individual nozzle control consists of a 4-fold nozzle body with electric activation and deactivation and additional switch-over of the nozzles. In addition to the 50 cm part-width section, which can be automatically enabled via GPS-Switch, the system offers electric switching between the four incorporated nozzles via the operator terminal, and even fully automatically. After entering the optimum pressure range of each individual nozzle in the 4-fold nozzle body, the system automatically switches the nozzles over in accordance with these stipulations. Especially in potato cultivation, it is therefore possible, for example,automatically to engage a second nozzle or switch over to a larger nozzle if the optimum pressure range of a nozzle is not maintained. Individual LED nozzle lighting is also integrated in the nozzle body with AmaSelect.

AmaSelect is fitted as standard with the DUS pro high-pressure circulation system. The spray pressure at each individual nozzle remains constant in DUS pro. The flow rates in the spray line remain very high under all conditions thanks to the conical spray lines, and no deposits are produced. Furthermore, the conical spray line means that the residual volumes are minimal.

HeightSelect also enables the distance between the boom and the target surface continuously to be adjusted automatically depending on the nozzle spacing and the nozzle type. When the nozzle is switched on, the automatic boom guidance regulates the target surface distance. This automation improves the efficiency of the plant protection agents and makes it considerably easier for the driver.

The choice: 50 cm or 25 cm nozzle spacing
The AmaSelect nozzle body can also be fitted with an extension kit for 25 cm nozzle spacing as an option. The advantage here is that the target surface distance to the potato crop can be reduced to less than 50 cm using special 80° nozzles. In addition, this variant can be supplemented by the HighFlow option for applications in potato cultivation with extremely high application rates.

Amazone presented additional innovations for the AmaSelect nozzle switching system at the Agritechnica 2020 fair which substantially reduce plant protection agent consumption in potato cultivation:

Spot applications with AmaSelect and DroneLink

AmaSelect Spot Drone
AmaSelect Spot Drone

The DroneLink software takes into account the special properties of the AmaSelect system for precise off-line spot application. The compilation of high-resolution maps of weed distribution in fields is the core skill of DroneWerkers in the Netherlands.

In the first step, a drone with a special RGB camera suitable for mapping is flown over the area to be treated. The photos are provided with a geotag (calibration of the position) after landing. The individual images are then combined to form a complete map. The map is analysed using the DroneLink software in the next step. Physical crop plants as oppose to individual weeds are discriminated between using artificial intelligence. Clusters of weeds can also be detected in uniform potato crops.

AmaSelect Spot recognized weeds
AmaSelect Spot recognized weeds

The special advantages of the AmaSelect Spot system are the 25 cm nozzle spacing and the 50 cm part-width section control. The use of special SpotFan 40-03 nozzles having a spraying angle of just 40° at a height of approximately 50 cm above the target surface, facilitates almost overlap-free and absolutely accurate small-area spot application with 100% plant protection agent concentration. Resistance problems in marginal areas due to under-dosing are thus avoided. A reduction in the use of plant protection agents of up to 80 % is possible, depending on the weed cover.
If very heterogeneous areas are involved, it is always possible to switch to full-width application using standard nozzles at the touch of a button.

Band spraying with AmaSelect Row

AmaSelect Row: Uniquely flexible options for plant protection

The AmaSelect Row enables the AmaSelect nozzle bodies to be switched from full-area application to row-specific band spraying by remote control. Row-specific band spraying enables the consumption of plant protection agents in the potato crop to be reduced by up to 65%. Special SpotFan 40-03 nozzles having a spraying angle of just 40° are the prerequisite for this. These special nozzles work without overlap and apply 100% of the plant protection agent across the whole width of the spray cone.

AmaSelect Row graphic of potatoes
Row-specific band spraying

AmaSelect nozzle bodies are normally fitted to the boom at a spacing of 50 cm. Row specific applications in crops with a 50 cm row spacing can very easily be implemented without any further retooling. 
AMAZONE offers potato growers using 75 cm row widths an interesting solution in the form of the extension kit for the AmaSelect nozzle bodies, which is used to reduce the nozzle spacing on the boom to 25 cm. The extension kit shifts apart two of the 4 nozzle positions of the AmaSelect nozzle body towards the right and the left. 

AmaSelect Row Comparison
Comparison: Full-width application - AmaSelect Row

Each nozzle position in the AmaSelect nozzle body can either be opened individually or in combination with a second nozzle. Switching between the individual nozzle positions or between full-area and band application in potato cultivation can be easily achieved easily at the push of a button on the terminal.

When the nozzle spacing is set to 25 cm, only every third nozzle will be opened for applications in crops with 75 cm row spacing. Only the row spacing, the spraying angle of the nozzle for band spraying, and the application height need to be entered into a separate menu in the ISOBUS machine controller. The right nozzle and the associated nozzle positions in the potato strip to be treated are selected automatically.

Maintaining the height above the target is of particular importance for band spraying. The band gets wider if the distance between the nozzle and the target surface is too large. It becomes narrower if the distance is too small. The combination of the AmaSelect nozzle body with the active ContourControl boom guidance system permits full use of the advantages.
A reduction in the consumption of plant protection agents of 50 to 65% is possible at a row width of 75 cm.

Precise application in curves with AmaSelect CurveControl
AmaSelect Curve Control provides uniform application rates over the full working width when cornering in the potato crop.

AmaSelect Curve Control
AmaSelect Curve Control

In the past, application of plant protection products when driving round bends has led to an over-application on the inside of the bend and an under-application on the outside of the bend. The problem increases with increasing boom widths. Over-applying on the inside of the boom must be viewed more critically, as potential overdose levels of more than 300% are possible. This effect (over-dosing) when cornering may lead to significant weakening or even total failure of the potato crop when applying herbicides to the inside of a bend. Under-dosing in the outside area results in incomplete suppression of the weeds and fungal diseases and might lead to resistance developing as a consequence of under-dosing. Loss of yield is a possible as result of under-dosing or over-dosing. These losses are prevented by the AmaSelect CurveControl.

AmaSelect CurveControl determines the curve radius using sensors and thanks to the ability to automatically change the nozzles across the boom, ensures fully uniform application rates during cornering. The application rate can be adapted independently of the part-width section control, since the AmaSelect individually controls each nozzle body at a part width section distance of 50 cm. The AmaSelect CurveControl provides the option of adapting the amount applied by selecting one of four different nozzles or three nozzle combinations. Different nozzle options provide AmaSelect CurveControl with an enormous range of application rates and thus also facilitates their best-possible automatic optimisation while driving around curves. 

AmaSelect Curve Control nozzle positions
AmaSelect Curve Control nozzle positions

The graphic "AmaSelect Curve Control nozzle positions” provides a very good representation of the flexible distribution of the activated nozzle positions and nozzle combinations across the entire working width. 

Tankinnenreiniger XTremeClean

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AmaSpot: The intelligent sensor nozzle system

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Agricultural Solutions

AMAZONE is an agricultural machine manufacturer with more than 130 years of experience. The company offers a wide range of machines for soil tillage, sowing technology, fertilisation and plant protection for operations of all sizes and every soil type, as...

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