Automated Weeders Have Arrived in Vegetable Fields
The vegetable production areas of the Central Coast of California have lifted vegetable cultivation to a high art, writes Richard Smith on GrowingProduce.com. Except for a 4-inch wide band around the seedline, growers cultivate the entire bed.
That uncultivated band is the area where growers hand weed what survives preemergent herbicides or cultural practices.
For the rest of the bed? Automated weeders remove weeds from the seedline. This technology has mostly thrived in Europe, where low labor availability and high costs reign.
U.S. vegetable growers, now facing similar issues, are adopting automation — including weeders — to supplement increasingly hard-to-find labor. That’s especially true for the last two to three years in the Salinas Valley.