Located in the heart of the department of Lot, entirely dedicated to organic farming, La Ferme des Quatre Saisons has been handed down from generation to generation since 1820. For Jean, 75, and Anita, this long family inheritance has not stopped them innovating with Oz, the Naïo Technologies autonomous weeding robot. Let’s have a look at what they have to say.
As for many market gardeners, the question of the drudgery of the work preoccupied them: “At my age, I get tired more quickly”, says Jean, “and with the tractor, hoeing quickly tires my eyes: I have to stop after two or three hours”.
Following Oz for many years, they got in contact with Naïo Technologies. They were very interested, but even so there were questions about getting to grips with this AgTech tool. “We were quickly reassured”, remembers Anita. “We watched some videos and tutorials and thought: this robot can help us. It can relieve us of some of the work and we’ll know how to use it”. They learned how to use Oz, which could however seem a real difficulty at first sight: “I discovered computing at the age of 57”, laughs Jean, “and I’ve never even had a smartphone!”.
Élise, référente technique et responsable de formation raconte les premiers contacts :« c’étaient mes utilisateurs les moins sensibilisés aux nouvelles technologies et je dois l’avouer, je ne savais pas comment la prise en main allait se dérouler ».
La Ferme des Quatre Saisons had tamed the Oz robot after just two months’ use. “We bought a smartphone and learned how to use it”, says Agnieska, the third partner. “Élise gave a lot of support during training sessions”. It took three half-days for us to feel independent.
“In the end, the process is simple: you do the mapping with GPS and send it to Naïo Technologies who draw up the map; once that’s sent by e-mail, you copy it onto a USB stick and head off to the Oz robot”. And that’s it!
However, it was an initiation held back by outside events: a tractor accident, a newly deployed GSM antennae which didn’t always work correctly, but “In spite of all that, they are already controlling the robot very well and send us good mapping”, says Élise. “I have no worries for the future”.
“We had few worries about learning how to use Oz after having contacted Naïo Technologies”, says Agneska reassuringly. “We had been well informed and we knew the Naïo teams would be there to support us in case of any problems: they’ve always been available to help us out of any difficulties!”.
The main difficulties encountered revolved around crop protocols, in the end: “It’s for us to adapt and change our habits and ways of working” explains Agneska. On some crops, the space between rows was sometimes too narrow or the lines of seed not sufficiently straight. “In any case, if we can use the robot, anyone can use it” concludes Anita, laughing, “and if we’re stuck, we can always call Élise!”.
In the end, Oz was quickly adopted and since this time has been continuing its work efficiently alongside Jean and Anita at La Ferme des Quatre Saisons.
Naïo & co
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