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Saving on Chemical Usage with SmartGuided Systems

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

Welcome to the Smart-Apply, Precision Controlled Application Sprayer.

Webinar: Jan. 28th@4pm

For those of you that frequently view our content, you might remember a past post talking about "Using LiDAR to See in 3D." LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing tool that uses light in the form of pulsed lasers to the Earth. The LiDAR instrument/satellite measures distances between objects by illuminating them with light and measuring the reflection with a sensor. LiDAR can be utilized through satellites, land bound instruments, and even mobile.

So where does LiDAR intersect with this blog post on optimizing chemical applications? Farmers are heavily dependent on spray applications to regulate pests, disease, crop maturity, and supplement nutrients. These applications are critical to a grower's success, but there are downsides - costs, liability from spray drift & ground water contamination, and getting the timing right to ensure efficacy of the application. Uniformity & yield management play a critical role when deciding what/where/when/how much to apply. And variable rate application is a dream for most growers, albeit challenging to identify where & how to apply effectively using this approach. Most growers often spend 10-15% of their costs on chemical applications; but this isn't just about raw costs. Growers are constantly balancing tradeoffs on yield vs application costs vs ecosystem disruption - it's never-ending!

Through our journey of conducting research at the Smart Orchard Project, alongside some of the nations largest tech providers, we had the opportunity to see first-hand a company that drastically improved the process in which growers use chemicals for orchard management. would like to introduce you to Smart Guided Systems - Smart Apply Intelligent Spray Controlled System that uses LiDAR to help growers reduce the amount of chemicals they use on their crops. As an AgTech company, we are always looking for applications of technology that improve growers' everyday life that impact their bottom line while also being environmentally sustainable.


About Smart Apply:

The Smart Apply Intelligent Spray Controlled System can be retrofitted and used on nearly any existing air blasting system, allowing the grower to utilize past investments in sprayers they already own. The main purpose around this system is the fact that conventional sprayers blanket the entire spray zone, whereas the Smart Apply Intelligent Sprayer can see the tree canopy with a single lens and targets it directly. When every penny counts, every tree is unique, and the use of chemicals can drastically change how much a grower spends, having a system that can identify the uniqueness of each tree and apply appropriate amounts of chemicals can heavily impact how much growers save each month. Not only does this spraying system apply chemicals precisely, it also eliminates pesticide drift to neighboring plants, reducing groundwater contamination and preserving ecosystems. Smart-Apply also helps growers maximize the health and longevity of their orchards by minimizing pesticide root damage due to over spraying.

John Deere & SmartGuided Systems Partnership:

SmartGuided Systems just recently signed a world wide partnership agreement with John Deere. John Deere saw the importance of utilizing equipment like this and the opportunity to bring these insights to high value crops around the world. Initially this partnership is exclusive to the U.S., Canada, and Australia but will eventually give John Deere dealers their customers more opportunities to utilize technology to improve their growing practices. In the long term John Deere is aiming to integrate SmartApply into their own tractors to further integration in already existing customer equipment. To learn more from the John Deere perspective, CLICK HERE.

"Smart-Apply is one of the most accurate systems in the world because it’s guided by Sick’s state-of-the-art LiDAR laser technology. The LiDAR laser sees and senses every inch of a growers plants or tree canopy and directs up to 120,000 pulse points per second with a single lens. It SEES their plants and gives them the exact amount of chemicals they need, and not a drop more."

The Payback for Growers:

Apples: Apple orchards spending $578 per acre on chemicals and fertilizer with 100+ acres will see a 1-year payback

Almonds: Almond orchards spending $606 per acre on fertility and pest & disease control with 50+ acres will see a 2-year payback

Avocados: Avocado farms spending $1,626 an acre on fertility and pest control with 40+ acres will see a 3-year payback

Cherries: Cherry orchards spending $375 an acre on foliar fertilizer, disease control, insecticides, and growth regulators with 75 acres will see a 2-year payback

Oranges: Orange orchards spending $280 per acre on foliar sprays with 100+ acres will see a 2-year payback.

Nurseries: Nurseries spending $567 per acre on pesticides with 100+ acres will see a 1-year payback

Vineyards: Vineyards spending $540 per acre on fungicides and insecticides with 50 acres will see a 2-year payback


Saving on Chemical Usage with SmartGuided Systems Webinar:

Click the above image or this LINK to sign up for the webinar!

Steve Booher: Founder/Owner at Smart Guided Systems

An entrepreneurial leader with a track record of success, Steve Booher’s most recent company Smart Guided® Systems LLC headquartered in Indianapolis, IN develops solutions for high-value permanent crop growers worldwide. Smart Guided Systems began with an Alliance Agreement with Kubota Tractor Corporation for the industry first Android tablet based Autosteer system. In spring of 2018 Smart Guided introduced the industry first Android tablet based GPS-precision spraying add-on kit that adapts to existing boom sprayers. In the fall of 2018, Smart Guided was chosen by the USDA exclusively, to commercialize the LIDAR based Intelligent Spray Control System, which was released for sale in the Summer of 2019.

Mr. Booher earned an associate degree in design at Vincennes University and a bachelors of science degree in business from Indiana Wesleyan. He has launched and sold several ventures in his 30-year career, Productive Resources, Auburn Clutch, NetPage USA, and CAD Design Inc. He has received the prestigious Growth 100 award from the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, part of Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business, an unprecedented 11 times for four different companies.

Mr. Booher was selected as Ernst & Young’s Northern Indiana Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000; and in 2007, 2008 and 2009, Productive Resources was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the “Fastest Growing Companies in America.”

Mr. Booher served on the AG Sector board of directors of AEM (Association of Equipment Manufactures) for six years; was past Chairman of its Associate Member’s Group and served on many committees. Mr. Booher also served as Chairman of the Board of non-profit Lakeview Ministries for five years, where he oversaw the fundraising and building of the new camp “Lakeview Villages” where over 2,000 kids per summer enjoy camp.

Mr. Booher enjoys family time at home in Indiana or at his cabin in Brown County Indiana; his hobby is operating heavy equipment.


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