Weed-scouting app showcased at Farming Smarter event

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WATCH ABOVE: A weed scouting app designed to help agronomists properly identify weeds was showcased at a Farming Smarter event in Lethbridge on Thursday. Matt Battochio reports.

A Farming Smarter event just outside of Lethbridge brought in a wide variety of agronomists for networking opportunities and the presentation of new ideas for the field.

At Thursday’s event, southern Alberta’s Brent Nicol showcased a weed-scouting app called Xarvio that’s been three years in the making. To use the app, the user simply points their phone at the unwelcome squatters and takes a picture.

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“You take that photo and then it goes through the process of the algorithm of recognizing that [and] gives you the results,” Nicol said.

The screen then shows what weed the app believes it is, while including a percentage of accuracy.

“Distinguishing characteristics between two weeds could be something as similar as just leaf placement and knowing those differences,” Nicol said. “And being able to have a backup which essentially is the app, then hopefully you can make the proper decisions for your farm.”

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While the free app is available for download, work is still being done to add disease recognition and leaf damage assessment. The goal is to keep more money in farmers’ pockets.

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“The crop and weeds are battling for nutrients and water. You want to get a control on that in order for the crop to get the most nutrients of water to increase your yield,” Nicol said. “And at the end of the day, the yield is what you’re looking for in your crop. The higher the yield, the higher the buck.”

The app features more than 50 weeds that can affect a variety of different crops.