25/05/2021 | English

10 ways to kill weeds without using agrochemicals

Electricity, laser beams, hot water, steam, microwaves, mechanical control… Everything counts in the tech race to win the battle against the unwanted plants.

One of the strongest trends for the future is the progressive replacement of phytosanitary products in weed control.

Strictly speaking, more progress has been made so far in minimizing the use of agrochemicals (for example, with selective application devices), than in the definitive elimination of their use, at least in extensive agriculture.

However, there are already a dozen options for weed control without herbicides around the globe.

The list goes from new technologies applied to weed elimination, to the rescue of traditional solutions adapted to the requirements of today’s agriculture.

The German company Zasso invented a weed control system based on the application of high-voltage electricity.

Zasso partnered with CNH Industrial, to promote the development of this technology globally.

In Argentina, the company Agro-Thrive developed -based on Zasso’s experience- a weed control alternative using electricity on high scale farm facilities.

For its part, the North American company The Weed Zapper developed the Annihilator (annihilator) electric weed control system. The device is mounted on the front of the tractor and removes the plants it touches, applying 155,000 watts.

The German startup Crop.Zone developed an electrophysical weed remover that incorporates a sprayer at the front, in order to increase conductivity and thus make the application of electricity to the weeds more effective.

Croop.Zone partnered with the multinational Nufarm to impose this technology on the world.

The Argentinian company Mapplics developed the GBOT robot, equipped with an laser device to control weeds, complemented with water steam.

In the same direction works the Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) in Germany.

In both cases, the goal is to generate laser radiation that degrades the sensitive mechanisms of the weed.

The British company Weedingtech developed Foamstream, a weeds control device that operates through the application of hot water (around 212°F), combined with vegetal oil.

The application generates foam that produces a greenhouse effect, keeping the plant beyond her death point for 2 minutes.

The Norwegian company SoilSteam designed a machine that injects pressurised steam at a depth of 30 cm.

According to the company, this system reaches a 90% effectivity in weed destruction.

Another version of the weed control based on steam, is the device developed by the French manufacturer Simon.

This equipment, called Steam R, is a self-propelled machine that erases weeds by using injector irons of pressured steam.

The device includes a diesel motor that heats water to 356°F, being capable of killing unwanted plants and seeds at a depth of 9 cm.

The Dutch company WeedControl designed a weed control system based on the use of hot air.

The device is mounted to the self-propelled electric vehicle of the company AllTrec, conforming a weeding machine with zero emissions and no agrochemicals.

In the University of Melbourne (Australia), students developed a weed control system based on the use of microwave technology.

Also in Australia, has been developed a seed annihilator system that is mounted on the harvester’s tails. This device grinds all the weed’s seeds before they get expelled with the rest of the harvest.

By doing that, the multiplication of unwanted plants is drastically reduced for the next campaign.

This equipment, denominated Seed Terminator, is commercialized in the world by the German Company Zürn Harvesting.

Similar solutions were developed by Tecfarm and Redekop.

The mechanic alternative has vast experience in farms around the globe.

The challenge is to develop solutions adapted to the requirements of today’s agriculture, especially in direct planting scenarios.

In Argentina, the company Agro Seri developed the BES System, a device that combines a front cutting blade with a set of grids located behind it.

Also Ingersoll is working intensely on the subject, in order to provide attachments for products of diverse brandts.

The list of mechanical control options includes chained discs, soil conditioner arms, weed wings, etc.

Companies like Fragar and Grass-Cutter successfully presented mechanical weed control solutions without soil removal, adapting themselves to the direct planting demands.

© Maquinac.

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