Asset management solutions provider QCIC relaunched its Qic-Sur telemetry pesticide system earlier this year, which enables remote-controlled monitoring of pesticides for the fruit, vegetable and wine industries.
The product relaunch forms part of QCIC’s aim to hone in on the needs of the agriculture sector, and enables the company to provide trained product specialists for the agricultural environment.
The Qic-Sur telemetry pesticide system enables farm managers to keep track of tractors, such as where and when a tractor applied a pesticide.
The system also indicates if a tractor applies pesticide too slowly or too quickly, and whether too much or too little spray has been applied.
Further, QCIC director Brian McKenzie explains that certain crops need to be ‘opened up’ by the spraying equipment so that the pesticide can get into the plant. However, he points out that pesticides are expensive, which underscores the need to monitor how they are dispensed.
The Qic-Sur system monitors a tractor’s operation through the use of a live (real-time) mapping interface, which ensures that the pesticide is evenly sprayed onto crops. It is installed on the tractor itself behind the vehicle instrumentation, or cluster, and can be placed on most tractors.
To avoid respraying the same crops, the system also indicates at which point the actual spraying equipment was switched on and where it was switched off if the pesticide runs low.
McKenzie elaborates that, to refill the tank, the driver needs to disengage the power takeoff and leave his or her position to have the pesticide tank refuelled. When the farmer has refilled the tank with pesticide, the driver needs to return to the area that was last sprayed and, to do so, the farmer will use the Qic-Sur system’s visual mapping interface – shown in aerial view – to see which crops have been sprayed.
One of the challenges that QCIC had to deal with during the product’s development was finding a waterproof solution. McKenzie points out that, as tractors are ruggedised open vehicles, they get cleaned with a high-pressure hose, from which the Qic-Sur system has to be protected. Hence, QCIC contracted a US manufacturer to design and manufacture the waterproof IP65 enclosure hardware that was installed into QCIC’s survey and software application.
McKenzie notes that sales of the system have been good to date, as it alleviates the strain on the farm manager who previously had to physically inspect the crops to check whether they had been sprayed.
The Qic-Sur system, which was developed in South Africa by QCIC, was launched in May 2014 and has since been implemented at tomato and citrus farms in Limpopo, the Western Cape and Mpumalanga.