Swiss company Zasso develops new weed controller
Jan. 7, 2019
Zasso’s technology to cook the weeds using electricity, in the foreground, makes short work of unwanted plants. Case New Holland has partnered with the Swiss company to release commercial machinery for farmers under the Xpower brand.
A machine that destroys weeds using an electric current has been developed by a Swiss company, which will be marketed by Case IH under the XPower brand.
This new system uses electrical current to control weeds and is the winner of a bronze medal in the Innovation Awards given by the organizers of the agri-business show SIMA in advance of its show planned for Feb. 24-28 in Paris.
Developed by Swiss firm Zasso Group, the “electroherbicide” technology has been developed in response to the need to find more sustainable solutions for weed control.
“Digital herbicide technology is at least as efficient as chemical herbicides in terms of controlling weeds, and is more efficient, economic, practical and crop-safe than mechanical weeding. In addition to which it does not disturb the soil nor encourage further weed growth,” said Maxime Rocaboy, Case IH product marketing manager.
“At the same time, it is more practical, safer and cheaper than scorching or burning systems used for total weed or haulm control,” he said.
During operation, the XPower system converts mechanical energy into electrical energy, substituting chemicals for high-energy electrons, applied through the weed leaves and working down through to the roots.
The tool is adaptable to suit specific crop needs thanks to its modular structure.
Mounted on a tractor or its implement at a working width of 1.2 metres to three metres, its weed contact units create a high voltage. With the aid of a sensor and camera-based guidance system, XPower, controlled by the tractor’s Class 3 isobus system, transfers this voltage via one element on contact with the weed leaves, where it travels down to the roots.
Another element touching another weed closes the electrical circuit and the weed chlorophyll is damaged immediately. The system is as effective on larger weeds as smaller ones.
“The exact weed species is irrelevant, and there is no risk of subsequent weather changes impacting on the efficacy of a pass with the system or, in the longer term, of herbicide resistance developing,” said Rocaboy.
“There’s also no need for multiple applications or complex spraying schemes, while the system helps to address the gradual reduction that is occurring in the number of available herbicides, and the lack of new ones coming through.”
The dwindling number of chemical herbicides and low number of new products coming through is playing a large part in the growing problem of weeds resistance to herbicide active ingredients, said Rocaboy, and balancing resistance management with the need for effective control is an ongoing challenge.
The system may also fulfil other uses as well as controlling weeds such as controlling tall grass species in field crops and treatment of weeds with complex root systems such as couch grass.
It also has the potential to aid weed control in fruit plantations between trees or bushes, making close weeding possible with no risk of tree damage and no soil movement, preventing further weed germination and minimizing soil erosion risk.
Manual labour requirements are eliminated, and the system is compatible with organic farming principles. Meanwhile, items such as water pipes and fencing are at much less risk of damage than they are when mowing to control weeds.
More from AgroNews
Subscribe to daily email alerts of AgroNews.