26 September 2023

Electric killer a shock for weeds

Start the conversation

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is trialing a device that uses electricity to kill weeds.

By doing so the Department hopes the research project will assist primary industries and community land managers to develop sustainable, non-chemical control solutions for weeds.

Research Scientist at DPIRD, Miranda Slaven said initial trial work had been encouraging with immediate suppression of the weeds visible after the electro-weeding application.

“The trials at Hamilton Hill Reserve and the Avon Valley Showjumping and Pony Club will evaluate the efficacy of broadleaf and grass weed control after a single pass of the machine, as well as a second pass a fortnight later,” Ms Slaven said.

“The level of control achieved by electro-weeding will be compared with glyphosate applications and an untreated control.”

The electro-weeding machine uses mechanical power to produce a high voltage current, which is applied directly to plants via a series of electrodes mounted behind, or in front of a tractor.

As the electricity passes through the plant the cell walls are destroyed, killing the plant or suppressing growth.

Another trial at the DPIRD Northam Research Field Plots will assess the influence of soil moisture on the effectiveness of electric weed control on annual ryegrass, kikuyu and wild radish.

The performance of the machine at various application speeds and growth stages of annual ryegrass will also be assessed in a second trial on the site.

The Department is leading the project in association with AGXTEND Europe to test the Zasso Electroherb machine under Australian conditions.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.