Intrarow Weed Removal in Broccoli and Transplanted Lettuce with an Intelligent Cultivator

Ran N. Lati, Mark C. Siemens, John S. Rachuy, Steven A. Fennimore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The performance of the Robovator (F. Poulsen Engineering ApS, Hvalsø, Denmark), a commercial robotic intrarow cultivator, was evaluated in direct-seeded broccoli and transplanted lettuce during 2014 and 2015 in Salinas, CA, and Yuma, AZ. The main objective was to evaluate the crop stand after cultivation, crop yield, and weed control efficacy of the Robovator compared with a standard cultivator. A second objective was to compare hand weeding time after cultivation within a complete integrated weed management (IWM) system. Herbicides were included as a component of the IWM system. The Robovator did not reduce crop stand or marketable yield compared with the standard cultivator. The Robovator removed 18 to 41% more weeds at moderate to high weed densities and reduced hand-weeding times by 20 to 45% compared with the standard cultivator. At low weed densities there was little difference between the cultivators in terms of weed control and hand-weeding times. The lower-hand weeding time with the Robovator treatments suggest that robotic intrarow cultivators can reduce dependency on hand weeding compared with standard cultivators. Technological advancements and price reductions of these types of machines will likely improve their weed removal efficacy and the long-term viability of IWM programs that will use them. Nomenclature: Broccoli, Brassica oleracea L. 'Marathon'; lettuce, Lactuca sativa L. 'Sunbelt'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-663
Number of pages9
JournalWeed Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Automation
  • DCPA
  • broccoli
  • cultivator
  • integrated weed management
  • intrarow weed control
  • lettuce
  • pronamide
  • robotic weeding
  • vegetable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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