Clint Brauer of Greenfield Robotics talks about the key role robotics are going to play in the next 20 years on scaling regenerative agriculture across millions of acres. It is relatively early, but the first signs are promising. We just might be witnessing the start of a robotics revolution in agriculture, helping farmers to grow their soils faster.
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Getting Chemicals Out of Food
Greenfield Robotics was born with a simple mission – to get the chemicals out of our food. They are developing robots that enable farmers to implement carbon farming on a massive, global scale – economically, and without agrichemicals.
“I decided I wanted to start doing what I’ve learned about organic farming using vegetables and what not. I wanted to do it in broadacre fields. I wanted to have the biggest impact possible in getting chemicals out of food. I wanted to figure out how to do weed control out in large field settings. How do you get rid of weeds without tilling, right? Without disking, plowing, chiseling, without chemicals? Do what’s called ‘no till farming.’” – Clint Brauer
Weeds and Robotics
Clint shares some personal stories that became motivators for him to pursue robotics and apply it in farming. It started with the weeds problems in his father’s agricultural land in Kansas. Although they found a work around the issue using chemicals, he still vowed that he will find a better solution, since even chemicals have evident limitations.
“Problem number one is: you got to get out there before the weeds are a foot tall, and they become resistant to your chemical at that point. You may expend them but a lot of times they’ll come, they’ll start growing again. Problem number two, how do you get rid of most of the weeds, if not all?” – Clint Brauer
Swarm of Robots
Clint describes the agricultural robots and what it does in the field. The machines repeatedly hit a row of weeds and at some point, the weeds just give up as you’re putting it so much under pressure.
“They’re small [robots] and it’s more of a swarm approach, meaning, we’ll put 10 bots out there at a time. They’re going to drive between the rows. There are four wheel drive, essentially, they’re running off batteries between the rows.” – Clint Brauer
Offering the Service To Farmers
They offer the service to farmers, they are not selling the robots at the moment. They went on a service route to diminish additional problems for the farmer of hiring someone to operate the machines or maintaining the actual robot. It also saved them future headaches on providing technical support.
“We just have a reasonable rule of thumb, if they get a certain size, we’re going to get out there and we’re going to start working within a month. That is a service. It’s a fixed fee per acre. So we figure on soy beans, we’re going to be out there two to five times per season. That is the way it works currently.” – Clint Brauer
A Robot for Animal Grazing
There’s another bot in development that helps with animal grazing, and intensive raising — which is a key part of regenerative ag. Nobody talks about this a lot because it’s very difficult to graze animals right now, especially small ruminants.
“I think robotics can make the farmer a more effective manager. And it may be even more of a detailed level than there I can capture at this point. I don’t think you’ll ever escape or the farmer has to go out and walk a field or eyeball their animals.” – Clint Brauer
To hear more about Clint Brauer and why robotics is the key for regenerative agriculture, download and listen to this episode.
Clint Brauer is a former executive from LA’s technology industry who went home to Kansas to get back into farming, to learn more about how robotics can be applied to agriculture. He is currently the CEO of Greenfield Robotics.
- Canidae Pet Food Company
- Greenfield Robotics
- Dangers of chemicals in our food, white paper of Jeremy Grantham, investor
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