Bejo/De Groot en Slot follows innovations closely and likes to stay abreast of the latest developments in the sector. During last growing season, the spot sprayer could be 'spotted' in many onion field, mainly to battle with surviving volunteer potatoes. The company ‘’ imports the Swiss machine, which uses algorithms to recognize weeds and different kind of volunteers in several crops. Bejo/DGS invited the company to various demos to explain how the machine works. Bejo/DGS’ Onion magazine asked two contractors to share their experiences.

Contractor company in Emmeloord  

Profytodsd was the first contracting company in the Netherlands to purchase the EcoRobotix in 2022. According to Douwe Dijkstra and Frans van Egmond, the company saw opportunities in the spot spraying system. "We find it important to keep up with the latest applications and techniques so that we can offer them to our customers," they said. 

In the beginning, Profytodsd did take some getting used to, as experience at dealers was lacking at the time. The software has since improved and so have the results. Last season, the company used the machine mainly for different kind of volunteers in onions and beets. "With the machine, a lot of time is saved and in most cases it works as accurate as doing this labour intensive task by hand," says Dijkstra.  

The spot sprayer works just as accurate as doing this labour intensive task by hand.


Labour is becoming scarcer and more expensive. If the EcoRobotix makes manpower redundant, that is profit, says Van Egmond. As a disadvantage, he mentions that many growers want to do it at the same time when the weeds are big enough and the crop is still small. This is often a short period in the year and weather conditions such as rain and wind make the time of deployment tighter. In the future, Profytodsd expects to also recognise diseases with the machine, making it even more widely deployable.  

But, says Profytodsd, "for good application, it remains important to have knowledge and experience of machine and resources, for the best result with the least damage to the crop."  

Samuel Rase  
Ateliers Rase in Eghezée (Wallonia/Belgium) 

Samuel Rase owns Ateliers Rase in Eghezée, Wallonia. This company is a dealer of agricultural machinery of the Grimme brand. In addition, Rase has an arable farm, where onions have a permanent place in the cropping plan.  

In January 2023, Rase purchased a spot sprayer from EcoRobotix, together with three other growers with whom he has a machination (buying and using machines together) and he does the operation and use of the machines together. The idea to purchase a spot sprayer was born after they noticed in 2022 that the chicory at a neighbouring organic grower stood better than the chicory at theirs. They quickly reasoned that higher pressure and inhibiting effect of herbicides were the cause of this and decided that their use had to go down.

In 2023, they started using the spot sprayer for the first time. To gain experience, they chose to use the spot sprayer only on their own fields in the first year. The first applications were in beet and chicory. Later in the season, the machine was also used successfully in onions and beans. There was also the ambition to start working with the spot sprayer in carrots, but the program and algorithm for carrots arrived too late in the season, so the machine could not yet be used in this crop this year.

The spot sprayer can save up to 90% on herbicide.

Samuel Rase

Initial experiences with the spot sprayer are promising. Much less product was used thanks to spot weed control. Rase calculated that thanks to the deployment of the machine, herbicide use could be reduced by 70 per cent; in some plots, up to 90 per cent could be saved. In addition, growers were surprised by the machine's high precision, resulting in almost no crop damage. They therefore cite these strong resource savings and the strong reduction in phytotoxicity as the biggest advantages of the spot sprayer. 

The four growers have deployed the machine on their own plots this year, but they also notice a lot of interest from other growers in the area. Especially for in vegetables, which often show stronger crop reaction to the herbicides used anyway. There are still doubts whether the machine can be used from the beginning of weed control. Currently, Rase and his colleagues see the spot sprayer mainly as a solution to correct against certain weeds that are not included or left over in the normal system.   

As a main disadvantage of the spot sprayer, Rase points to the efficiency of the machine. If everything runs smoothly, the machine can achieve a maximum return of 3 hectares per hour, which limits the number of hectares it can handle. Another disadvantage is that the lower return means the product or product mix is in the tank for longer. This gives it a chance to sag and the effectiveness can drop. 

With the increasingly narrow range of agents, Samuel Rase expects applications with the spot sprayer to increase significantly in the future: as the algorithms become even more precise, the machine will work even better and more accurately. Thus, in the future, the spot sprayer will therefore be used successfully in more difficult and fine-leaved crops, such as carrots.