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Electrifying weed control

Electrifying weed control

RootWave uses electricity in place of herbicides

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A British startup has created a method of weed control designed to reduce the need for herbicides.

RootWave uses electricides to kill several yield-robbing and invasive weeds, including bindweed and giant hogweed.

When RootWave touches a weed, electricity flows through it. The weed’s natural resistance turns the energy into heat and boils the weed inside out from the root upwards.

This method of weed control can offer farmers several benefits, said Andrew Diprose, CEO of RootWave.

“Not only is it sustainable and organic, but it also doesn’t require water,” he told The technology “is no-till so it doesn’t disturb the soil or contribute to carbon emissions.”

The company is working with Steketee, a Dutch precision ag company to bring the technology into fields for further practical applications.

Steketee has vision technology that can differentiate between a weed and a crop. The company’s system also has a mechanical device that removes the weed and leaves the crop untouched.

RootWave’s trials remove the mechanical device and replace it with the electricide technology.

In the future, farmers may be able to buy the technology separately and attach it to existing implements.

The product is currently only available in Europe and Asia, but the company plans to bring the technology to North America within a year or two, Diprose said.

Growers that have tested RootWave’s system are happy with its results, he said.

“Initial reviews are positive because it kills weeds without disturbing the soil,” Diprose said. “We don’t have the data yet in terms of cost-savings, but we’re confident we can make it comparable to using traditional herbicides.”

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