Innovative hacking technology for vegetable growing

The German Oekofeldtage in Frankenhausen presented an impressive variety. Some of the innovations shown in the hacking technique are of particular interest to vegetable producers. Bioaktuell gives an overview of the state of the developments in robots for controlling weeds and snails, and presents a new weed crop for carrot cultivation.

Authors Text: Martin Koller and Martin Lichtenhahn, videos: Thomas Alföldi

Chopping and weeding are among the most labor-intensive steps in organic vegetable production. No wonder many efforts are being made to mechanize and automate this area. A special challenge is the weed control in the series.

First successes were achieved with devices, which are commonly called "hack robots". Strictly speaking, these are sensor-controlled hackers. The wood chips find their way independently through the series by means of sensors. Further sensors allow the application of a hoe across the row. Neither a special tractor nor an additional "control person" is necessary for these devices. Combined with a GPS device, the work can be carried out even more precisely and, as far as the regulations permit, also operated in a partially automatic manner. (Translation by Google translate)

Oz is a robot for mechanical weed control. It is suited to smaller vegetable producers managing between one to ten hectares. Oz was developed in 2011 by the company Naïo Technologies. In France, roughly fifty robots are already in use. This robot can weed up to one hectare of ground per day. In the video, available tools and the steering mechanism based on laser and camera are presented. For more information go to

Also available in: Deutsch and Français


The Agricultural Engineering Department at the University of Kassel, the Kommtek company, and the Julius Kühn-Institute are working together to develop a robot for slug control in arable farming. Its aim will be to autonomously navigate arable fields using GPS, to map slugs detected, and to control slugs. It is to determine where slug hotspots are located and target such areas. Following a learning phase, the robot should be able to anticipate hotspots through machine learning.

Also available in Deutsch  and Français

The start-up company DULKS will launch the new ABRAH cultivator for weed control in 2018. The ABRAH makes it possible to hoe in immediate proximity to young, tender crop plants, for example between double or triple rows of carrots – which until now had to be weeded manually in organic crop production. For more information go to

Also available in Deutsch and  Français
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Publish Date: 
30th August 2017