GUSS goes electric in orchard industry

March 28, 2024 | 5 Min read
JOHN Deere and GUSS Automation have unveiled what they call the world’s first, and only, fully electric autonomous herbicide orchard sprayer.

JOHN Deere and GUSS Automation have unveiled what they call the world’s first, and only, fully electric autonomous herbicide orchard sprayer.

And orders for Australian producers will be open soon.

Electric GUSS takes the proven performance of GUSS automation and extends its environmental and productivity profile with battery power to further enhance the intelligent sprayer’s sustainability credentials.

Growers can control multiple sprayers from a remote source increasing productivity, optimising and upskilling labour, and enabling farming operations to meet sustainability goals through lower emissions and enhanced application precision.

John Deere production systems manager, Stephanie Gersekowski, said the launch reaffirms the company’s commitment to finding the best solutions for high-value crop growers.

“The all-new electric GUSS will provide farmers with reliable and powerful performance, with added benefits to help increase productivity and profitability,” Ms Gersekowski says.

The machine includes a spot spraying weed detection system that identifies chlorophyll in the weeds and only sprays where they are detected. The technology significantly reduces the overall application amount used, resulting in up to 90 per cent savings in materials, depending on weed pressure.

GUSS Automation chief operating officer, Gary Thompson, says it also leads to lower operating costs, reduced material drift and contributes to enhanced employee safety.

“We’ve been asked countless times about making GUSS electric,” Mr Thompson says.

“An electric herbicide sprayer made the most sense to us, given that the battery life can last an entire shift while performing this critical orchard task. Combining the battery’s electric benefits of low operating costs and zero tailpipe emissions with spot spraying weed detection technology makes Electric GUSS a winner.”

The Electric GUSS utilises Kriesel batteries that can run and spray for a full shift when fully charged.

Using a combination of GPS, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and proprietary technology for accurate coverage, a single employee can operate and monitor up to eight GUSS machines from the safety of their vehicle using a laptop computer, reducing the opportunity for operator exposure.

The autonomous capability includes multiple safety features to avoid hazards and automatically pauses the spray operation when individuals are in close proximity.

The sprayer is 7.16m long, 1.93m tall and ranges from 2.54m to 5.79m wide depending on boom extension. The hydraulic-controlled, height-adjustable spray booms accommodate 5.5m to 6.7m row spacing that can be tilted upward for berm spraying. The unique design also incorporates breakaway booms to help prevent damage to trees and crops during operation.

Electric GUSS will soon be available for ordering at select John Deere dealer locations across Australia.


Smart apply technology now available

In addition, the diesel-powered orchard GUSS and mini GUSS autonomous blast sprayers now have an option to add the smart apply intelligent spray control system.

Acquired by John Deere in 2023, smart apply delivers precision application, precision data and analytics, and can elevate the performance of blast sprayers. By sensing the presence of individual trees and vines and automatically adjusting spray volume based on tree size and foliage density, smart apply helps optimise protection and avoid over-spraying, resulting in up to 50 per cent chemical and water savings, on average.

Ms Gersekowski says smart apply, paired with GUSS, brings farmers the efficiency of an automated blast sprayer and the accuracy and ease of an intelligent application system.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” she says.

“The labour optimisation benefits of GUSS, now combined with the input optimisation benefits of Smart Apply, will be available both as a factory-installed option and as a precision upgrade for existing orchard and mini GUSS machines.”










Categories Tractors & machinery