Agri-Musings: Achieving Uniformity

Automated Lettuce Thinner

Each lettuce plant must be ready to pick on the same day. This can only be done by achieving uniformity. Acheiving uniformity is an intricate process. Every facet of lettuce production from seed selection, tillage, bed shaping, planting, irrigation, and cultivation has a goal of uniformity.

It is critical to have a specified number of plants per acre.  Each lettuce plant must have a specified area in which to grow; and therefore, uniform plant spacing is absolutely critical. HIstorically, uniform plant spacing was only obrtained by lettuce thinning by hand. This process was labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive, and was only feasible with an sufficient labor supply. 

However, with today’s labor shortages, growers are doing all they can to increase efficiencies. One new technology being employed by lettuce growers is an automatic lettuce thinner. The thinner sprays a solution, composed of either a contact herbicide or high-concentrations of nitrate fertilizer. This can be done using camera technology or a predetermined “footprint”. This increases precision without having to resort to the use of hand-hoe crews. 

Take a look at one company that is innovating lettuce thinning. .

It’s the combination of many technical advances that create big evolutions!

Reposted from Facebook, October 13, 2016