Agtech innovator says its Thorvald robot’s UV-C treatment ensured no chemical intervention was needed whatsoever to control powdery mildew on Clock House Farm’s strawberry plants in past season

Saga Robotics has hailed its “biggest season to date” at Clock House Farm, achieving “complete control” of powdery mildew on the producer’s strawberry plants through UV-C light treatment.

The Norwegian agtech firm said it has removed the need for fungicides to control the pathogen, confirming that no chemical intervention was needed during the past season thanks to treatment of all 30 hectares of Clock House Farm’s tabletop strawberry crops.

Managing director of Clock House Farm, Oli Pascall, said: “We have actively been using Thorvald for the third year running and have experienced at first-hand the significant effect and results of the Thorvald UV-C light, without any chemical intervention to protect our strawberry plants from powdery mildew during the season.

“The UV-C treatment has delivered a successful outcome, not only in relation to the effective control of powdery mildew but also in helping the farm in its commitment to sustainability (by removing diesel operations, negating the need for chemical fungicides etc.) which remains a key priority for us.

“I am also excited to see the huge potential for Thorvald to support and automate many other key aspects of Integrated Pest Management going forward.”

Saga Robotics will be partnering with more growers in 2023 while it prepares for the commercial launch of a wider range of services, which will be embedded onto its Thorvald robot platform.

These will be included in Saga Robotics’ Integrated Pest Management portfolio next year. The company said this “will serve as an important steppingstone for a substantial commercial scale-up in the UK in 2024”.

Saga Robotics CEO Anne Dingstad added: “Operating on a full farm also means being able to operate the robots safely and consistently throughout the whole season. We yet again demonstrated that the technology works by autonomously driving 10,000 linear kilometres this season only, the equivalent of driving from London to Edinburgh over 15 times.

“It’s also been a year where we have accelerated our preparations for commercial scale and secured new funding, both of which we know will contribute to a sustainable, modernised and efficient agriculture in the coming years.”