4 Nov 2013

Farmers asked for ideas on best uses for farm robot

9:13 am on 4 November 2013

AgResearch scientists who have developed a multi-tasking farm robot are asking farmers for their ideas how it could be used.

The Agri-Rover.

The Agri-Rover. Photo: AGRESEARCH

The Agri-Rover, as it's called is about the size of a low slung four wheeled bike.

It can be programmed to move around designated parts of the farm.

Project leader Andrew Manderson says they'll be initially attaching sensors to monitor feed levels in pasture and then adding equipment for soil sampling.

But he says there are a whole range of practical jobs it might be able to do, freeing up the farmer to do other things.

Dr Manderson says one idea from farmers already is to put a camera on the robot so they can check things such as ewes during lambing remotely on a screen.

But he says robots will not make farm dogs redundant.

"The real advantage of robotics is that it's something going on in the background, so as a balance of energy use it's designed to go very slowly, so it'll go all the time, very slowly, so no it'd never replace a dog."