Firm launches first tractor-mounted electric weeder

A UK company has launched the first field-scale, tractor-powered electrical weeder for orchards, vineyards and fruit.

RootWave, the Warwickshire-based electrical weed control manufacturer, points to its good performance in independent trials in orchards last year.

The company’s high-frequency eWeeding system delivered full control of weeds, similar to results from trials in sugar beet and maize during the same summer (2022).

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The RootWave machine treats weeds in the rows of vines, bushes, and trees using electrodes on purpose-designed hydraulic arms, to work seamlessly between different row widths of crops.

It uses electricity to create heat within the weed and roots, boiling them from the inside out.

In 2018, the company successfully launched a professional hand-held weeder, RootWave Pro, and has sold more than 150 in the UK and Europe.

Chief executive Andrew Diprose said: “RootWave delivers better weed control in fewer treatments at a lower cost.

“It will become the indispensable tool for farmers that want effective weed control without any environmental issues.” 

He added that the technology is certified organic and helps nature restore its soils, water and biodiversity.

In the company’s own tests, the system provided full control of weeds at a lower total energy use than chemical herbicides.

“It works so well because the plant and roots are killed by heat generated within the weed itself.

“And because it works so well, the number of applications you need in a season is comparable with that of herbicides and less than required for mechanical weeding.” 

What makes this system different is that it is the only one using high-frequency electricity, which the firm says has significant advantages over standard 50Hz or DC wave forms.

The machine is powered by the pto on a standard tractor.

Growers can reserve a machine now, with those first in the queue able to secure delivery in spring 2024.

Visit the RootWave website for more information.

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