• automatic vision guidance;
  • mechanical weed control;
  • chemical;
  • band spray;
  • Beta vulgaris


Most herbicide applications to sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) are made to the whole crop area, but there is the opportunity to restrict applications to the crop row, decreasing the usage of herbicide by up to 70%. However, this would require greater use of mechanical weed control between rows. Experiments were performed in two seasons to evaluate the weed control performance of a novel, vision-guided, inter-row hoe in sugar beet crops grown on a peat fen soil. Hoe lateral placement was within ±30 mm. A precise hoeing and band spraying treatment was compared with overall herbicide use, and with treatments in which the herbicide applications were replaced by hand weeding to minimize competition between crop and weeds. Two hoe passes were made in each season, at crop growth stages of two and 10–12 true leaves in the first season and four and eight true leaves in the second season. Plant population density was not affected by treatment, indicating that none of the treatments caused crop plant loss. Use of the guided hoe controlled weeds better than overall spraying. Crop yields were not significantly different between treatments, indicating that weed control prevented competition with the crop in all treatments.