Danish robots are making up for labor shortages on farms in Europe and beyond

Danish company AgroIntelli’s autonomous robotic system called Robotti is helping farmers in Europe, the UK, Australia and elsewhere fill critical labor shortages. “Our robots also take care of boring and repetitive tasks in vegetable farms like weeding, especially in organic farming, to free up scarce labor skills to focus on higher value tasks. “, explains Jakob Bebe, commercial director of AgroIntelli.

Robitti parsnip seedlings

The company, which just celebrated its 7th anniversary, has seen triple-digit sales growth for its robotic system between 2020 and 2021. While many countries are experiencing severe labor shortages on farms, AgroIntelli expects additional and similar sales growth for this year. Robotti systems are used by farmers in Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, UK Kingdom, Azerbaijan and Australia.

“Our strategy is to help market gardeners with high value crops that are labor intensive in some of the applications. This is where often repetitive and boring tasks like weeding have to be done. The main task and idea of ​​robotization is to replace this tedious and boring work in the fields or anywhere on the farm. In this way, the robots free up scarce resources allowing people to work elsewhere, creating more value for the farmer. Also, the tasks where farmers have the most difficulty in finding labour. Some countries are struggling to find labour. We even have clients who could not recruit enough staff, resulting in rotting crops in the field. An example is the effect of Brexit on the UK. Even in countries like Eastern Europe, where wages are lower, they all struggle to find the labor to do the “boring” tasks, Bebe says.

Robotti is used in a range of farms, including onions, salads, leeks, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, strawberries and pumpkins, to name just some of the major crops. The robots are paired with tools and agricultural implements from recognized manufacturers. AgroIntelli partners with KULT, a German company that develops inline weeders that clean between plants.

“This system was recently presented for the first time in Germany, where we also have a customer using it. We offer a complete system to the farmer. It is a very flexible platform where the farmer can attach any implement to perform many tasks. It can be used for seeding, spraying and weeding, as well as less standard tools such as mowers, potato ridges, planters, rollers and more. We work very hard to supply our dealers with selected tools, which we know are specifically chosen to offer good value for money for specific tasks. We work with tool manufacturers, which allows us to verify it with them to offer our customers a complete system from Robotti that aims to bring value in specific crops. Depending on the tool and the crop, we can cover around one hectare per hour. You can drive 24/7 with lights on the robot. Farmers have the option of using it independently. You just set it up in the field and let it run, only stopping occasionally to fill in the seed. ‘ said Baby.

Robotti leek weeding

The company has two main owners, namely Nordic Alpha Partner, a private equity fund, and the Growth Foundation, which is part of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who have jointly invested 14 million euros. This allowed the company to grow both commercially and in production facilities.

“The price level of our Robotti system is very competitive compared to an advanced tractor. It is especially the case that in these high value crops there is a good business case. We see a return on investment of less than two years. It really depends on the farmer, the size of the fields, the size of the crops and how they use our system. We use Kubota diesel engines. The robot is sufficiently “foreign” to farmers. We provide the robots with a familiar propulsion system that is easy for farmers to maintain. Thanks to the engine, we can work with heavy tools and do light tillage. We need more power than a battery can provide. This is something we are considering in the future. »

“We need partners to distribute robot systems and to serve and support customers. We cannot do it from Denmark. We focus on some of the major countries in Europe. We are trying to get closer to the market,” concludes Bebe.

For more information:
Jakob Mohl Baby
Tel: +45 54583545
Email: [email protected]

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