Intellectual Property

PATENT: 9,075,008

A method and system of treating plants is provided. The method includes measuring optical properties of a plant using a plurality of spectral bands. The method further includes calculating in a computational device at least two vegetative indexes using the optical properties, each of the at least two vegetative indexes correlating to one or more plant growth parameters. The method further includes calculating in the computational device a water invariant chlorophyll index from at least two vegetative indexes using the plurality of spectral bands. The also provides for treating one or more of the plants based on the water invariant chlorophyll index.

PATENT:  9,026,316

An apparatus configured for dispensing nutrients is provided. The apparatus includes a dispensing system configured for dispensing the nutrients, a variable rate controller operatively connected to the dispensing system and configured to control dispensement of the nutrients from the dispensing system. The variable rate controller is programmed to determine a primary nutrient application rate and an additional nutrient boost rate.

PATENT: 8,816,262

A method for application of an agricultural product to a field is provided. The method includes acquiring real-time sampled data using real-time agricultural sensors, auto-calibrating the real-time agricultural sensors using statistical characteristics of the real-time sampled data to determine an application rate, and applying the agricultural product to the field based on the application rate. The step of auto-calibrating can be performed in various ways depending upon the type of agricultural product, the data available from the agricultural sensors or otherwise, or otherwise.

PATENT: 8,755,049

A light sensing apparatus for measuring the reflectance of sub surface soil in real-time while attached to a moving vehicle is disclosed. Reflectance measurements from the apparatus can be related to the organic matter content of the soil. The apparatus is housed in a corrosion resistant enclosure having field rebuildable wear surfaces. The wear surfaces help extend the life of the apparatus by isolating the apparatus’s main enclosure from soil abrasion. The wear surfaces also assist in conditioning the sensed soil surface by smoothing the surface prior to sensing. Signal conditioning circuitry in the apparatus is utilized to reject the influence of ambient light in the advent that the soil/apparatus interface opens. A digital processor or other “intelligent controller” is utilized in the apparatus to auto calibrate the apparatus in real-time and/or use predetermined tables or mathematical relationships in order to convert reflectance information into organic matter measurements.

PATENT: 8,558,157

An apparatus for applying agrochemicals within a geographical area includes a dispensing system configured for dispensing the agrochemicals and a variable rate controller operatively connected to the dispensing system and configured to control dispensement of agrochemicals from the dispensing system. The variable rate controller is programmed with an algorithm which uses a plant growth stage appropriate plug value for an initial calibration. A method for applying agrochemicals within a geographical area includes acquiring a growth stage appropriate plug value for an initial calibration, using the growth state appropriate plug value in the initial calibration, and applying agrochemicals to the geographical area according to the initial calibration.

PATENT: 8,451,449

A light sensing apparatus for measuring the reflectance of sub surface soil in real-time while attached to a moving vehicle is disclosed. Reflectance measurements from the apparatus can be related to the organic matter content of the soil. The apparatus is housed in a corrosion resistant enclosure having field rebuildable wear surfaces. The wear surfaces help extend the life of the apparatus by isolating the apparatus’s main enclosure from soil abrasion. The wear surfaces also assist in conditioning the sensed soil surface by smoothing the surface prior to sensing. Signal conditioning circuitry in the apparatus is utilized to reject the influence of ambient light in the advent that the soil/apparatus interface opens. A digital processor or other “intelligent controller” is utilized in the apparatus to auto calibrate the apparatus in real-time and/or use predetermined tables or mathematical relationships in order to convert reflectance information into organic matter measurements.

PATENT: 8,319,165

An apparatus for applying agrochemicals within a geographical area includes a dispensing system configured for dispensing the agrochemicals and a variable rate controller operatively connected to the dispensing system and configured to control dispensement of agrochemicals from the dispensing system. The variable rate controller is programmed with an algorithm which uses a plant growth stage appropriate plug value for an initial calibration. A method for applying agrochemicals within a geographical area includes acquiring a growth stage appropriate plug value for an initial calibration, using the growth state appropriate plug value in the initial calibration, and applying agrochemicals to the geographical area according to the initial calibration.

PATENT: 7,723,660

An algorithmic method is described for sensor-based real-time application of an agricultural material. Method includes means for characterizing and treating crop biomass variability without the use of a grower managed reference crop. Crop variability is determined statistically by driving one or more transects through the field in order to collect crop canopy information for sensor calibration purposes.

PATENT: 7,408,145

An apparatus is described for assessing plant status using biophysical and biochemical properties of the plant remotely sensed by the invention thereby allowing selective monitoring, elimination or treatment of individual plants. In a preferred embodiment, a single polychromatic emitter provides coincident light beams; one beam substantially in the visible portion of the spectrum (400 nm to 700 nm) and the other in the near infrared (NIR) portion of the spectrum (700 nm to 1100 nm). This light beam illuminates a small surface area on the ground, which may be bare ground, desired plants or undesired weeds. The beam of light may be focused, collimated or non-focused. A detector array, usually composed of a visible detector and a NIR detector, detects portions of this polychromatic light beam reflected by the surface area and provides a signal indicative of whether the detected light was reflected by a plant or by some non-plant object such as soil. A controller analyzes this signal and, assuming a plant is detected, responds by activating a device to take some action with respect to the plant or stores the analyzed signal with corresponding DGPS position in the controller’s memory for later analysis. A number of actions may be taken by the controller. For instance, if the plant is a weed, the desired action might be to spray herbicide on the weed. Or, if the plant is a crop that is determined to be lacking in nutrient, the desired action may be to apply fertilizer. Additionally, if the plant under test is a turf landscape, such as found on golf courses and sporting fields, plant biomass may be mapped and geo-located using GPS for later, comparative analysis.