Next-gen robot now treats nearly 10% of all UK strawberries

(Photo: Saga Robotics)
(Photo: Saga Robotics)

Agri-tech firm Saga Robotics has announced a significant expansion of its Thorvald robotic services across the UK for the upcoming growing season.

With newly established hubs across the country, Saga has become a provider of autonomous robotic services, with hopes of setting a new standard for efficient strawberry production.

The agri-tech firm is operating on an area four times larger than last season due to strategic expansion and collaboration with nine leading strawberry growers.

With the next-gen Thorvald robotic services, the company now treats nearly 10% of all strawberries in the UK.

According to Saga, the Thorvald achieves a 60-90% reduction in pesticide usage and delivers a 40% return on investment for customers.

A single robot over its lifetime is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas absorption of around 3,000 mature trees, reducing 150 tonnes of emissions, the firm explains.

Sandy Booth, owner of New Forest Fruit Company, highlighted the benefits of integrating Thorvald into their operations.

She said: “Over the past few years, we have been working on integrating robots into our strawberry-growing operation.

“Moving our focus towards using non-chemical crop protection via robotic technology will help to protect the environment as we strive towards achieving our goals for innovation and sustainability.”

The Thorvald 3 robot employs high-intensity UV-C light to control powdery mildew, thus significantly reducing the need for chemical interventions.

Additionally, it is outfitted with an expanding array of automated tools, including advanced data collection capabilities, and predatory mites dispensing.

Anne Dingstad, CEO of Saga, explained Thorvald's benefits: "In an era where sustainability and health are paramount, our autonomous robotic platform Thorvald represents a significant leap forward.

“We're not just reducing chemical usage; we're creating a synergy between technology and nature for a healthier, safer, and more sustainable approach to food production.

“As we expand, the UK's leading growers are increasingly choosing Thorvald as their environmentally sustainable and commercially viable service for pest management."