SoilMate’s Weekly News Digest #31

Hello dear readers! Today in our digest: devastating storm in the Northeast of the US, new findings in the weed control system, and the future of agricultural robotics!

Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash

Tornadoes teared up New Jersey’s largest dairy farm.

The Wellacrest farm in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, was almost destroyed in about three minutes: silos were overturned, grain bunkers collapsed, and roofs were torn down. For those looking to donate, there has been a GoFundMe page set up.

The hurricane that devastated the dairy farm last week caused the EF3 tornado — many other twisters were registered throughout the state and neighboring Pennsylvania. The storm also caused historical rain and massive flooding due to the remains of Hurricane Ida that killed at least 50 people in six eastern states.

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Is climate change critical for corn? What about weeds?

Scientists expect climate change to significantly reduce corn yields by the end of the century, with some estimated losses of up to 28%. But these calculations require a critical factor that can further reduce corn yields: weeds. Machine learning algorithms have helped researchers understand a large and complex dataset. They considered crop management issues, including date of planting, hybrid selection, planting density, percentage of weed control for several species, weather data at stages of corn life-cycle growth. The analysis showed an average loss of 50% with minimal weed control at the end of the season. Even with relatively reliable weed control at the end of the season (up to 93 percent), weeds increase crop losses in hot or dry conditions.

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Environmental Protection Agency will ban the agricultural use of chlorpyrifos.

EPA eliminates all «tolerances» to chlorpyrifos that set the allowable quantity of pesticide in foods since it is linked with learning disabilities and can cause nausea, dizziness, and confusion. The regulatory authorities stopped using the pesticide in the living quarters, which was acting against the nervous system of insects two decades ago. By inhibiting the enzyme, chlorpyrifos can disrupt the nervous system and associated with potential neurological effects in children. EPA conducts periodic checks of the registration of chlorpyrifos used for non-food purposes required by law. It states that some pesticides are available as alternatives to chlorpyrifos in agriculture.

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The new IDTechEx report describes the future of the agricultural robotics industry.

The latest IDTechEx report, “Agricultural Robotics Market 2022–2032”, is considered the industry’s key applications — robotic weeding, automatic seeding, autonomous tractors, autonomous hinged equipment and platform robots, robotic harvesting of fresh fruits and vegetables, agricultural drones, and automated milking. The report singles out companies in each application area working on the commercialization of products and also discusses business models in the farm robotics industry, such as the advantages and problems associated with the business model «robotics as a service» (RaaS). Based on the technical and industry analysis of IDTechEx, it is projected that by 2032 the market for agricultural robots will reach $6.7 billion.

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