Every ag tech manufacturer and news site seems to be talking about automation. But at a discreet facility southeast of Fresno, California, it’s more than just talk. There, we find not some prototype of the future of agricultural equipment, but GUSS, the Global Unmanned Spray System.
GUSS is in production and is being delivered to customers from California to Florida. At the time of writing this article, there are six GUSS units being delivered to excited customers looking to eliminate operator and production costs. That is quite the feat considering the journey it has taken to get GUSS going.
GUSS is a custom platform from the ground up, it is also the dream of Dave Crinklaw. Dave’s father Bob Crinklaw started a custom spraying business in 1982 targeting the area’s orchard, citrus, and vineyard crops. Crinklaw Farm Services grew from spraying 40 acres a day to the ability to spray an average of 5,000 acres during the peak season today and is now known as CFS LP.
With key managers and employees in place, and with Bob’s retirement, Dave’s mind began to wonder how to spray more with less operators in hazardous conditions while saving on labor. With this idea in mind, they developed the industry’s first three and four-row vineyard sprayers, mechanical vineyard pruners, and the Tree-See orchard sprayer. The Tree-See was their first step towards automation, this system turns on and off nozzles only when a tree is present which saves hundreds of gallons of chemical over an orchard.