H3O-SpotOn ran trials in an apple orchard in Poland, a vineyard in Slovenia and in a citrus plantation in Tunisia carrying out effective treatments and assuring high quality yield.

Fede has led the innovation experiment H3O-SpotOn (Healthy Crop, Healthy Environment, Healthy Farmers’ Finances through Optimized SpotOn Spraying Robotics) which was selected from the competing proposals of the agROBOfood Open Calls.

The EU funded project agROBOfood has the aim of accelerating de digital transformation of the agri-food sector through an effective adoption of robotic technologies through the action of 38 direct partners from across the EU. Within the context of this macro-project, Fede has successfully carried out the H3O-SpotOn innovation experiment together with its partners Agrobad and Pawlak, Krampač and Chemtou.

H3O-SpotOn allows the sprayer to adjust the application to the crop dimensions in real time thanks to the implementation of robotics. This technology has confirmed how spraying spot on reduces the amount of pesticides up to 40%, carrying out effective treatments and assuring high quality yield. It also lowers the ground losses and spray drift, which entails benefits for the environment, for farmers’ finances, and for the food-security.

H3O-SpotOn ran trials under different climatic conditions in Pawlak’s apple orchard in Poland, in Krampak’s vineyard in Slovenia, and in Chemtou’s citrus plantation in Tunisia. The spray job work orders were generated in Fede’s SpeciaIty Crops Platform (SCP) and downloaded to the sprayers in the field. Executing the spray work orders, the spraying robots then automatically adjusted the spraying process to crop dimensions.

In addition to precise field work, H3O-SpotOn provides full traceability. Back-office analysis of the spraying results gives farm mangers the assurance that their crops are safe. Furthermore, the adjusted treatment reduces water use as well so the frequency with which the sprayers have to be refilled, meaning significant refill time and fuel savings.


H3O-SpotOn: pesticides use reduction and farmers savings

H3O-SpotOn demonstrates how robotics paired with satellite navigation and artificial intelligence can reduce the amount of pesticides used in orchards and vineyards by up to 40%, in line with the EU’s Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Knowing that pesticide costs per standard sprayer per year are easily in excess of 35.000 €, this corresponds to annual savings of 14.000 € in pesticides. Moreover, nearly 380 M kg of pesticides were used in the EU in 2019. Accounting only for the 6.6 % of permanent crops around 10,03 M kg of pesticides would be saved per year if H3O-SpotOn like spot spraying becomes the norm.

Hence, the agROBOfood project, with the support of the European Union, made it possible to successfully carry out the H3O-SpotOn innovation experiment. The experiment demonstrated how robotic technology integrated in spraying equipment brings significant benefits for farmers, environment and society as a whole.

 “This Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, through an Open Call issued and executed under the project agROBOfood (Grant Agreement No 731884)”.