In Field Technologies

Microwave Weed Control

The Technology

Microwaves are electromagnetic fields that oscillate in the 300MHz to 300GHz frequency range to produce dielectric heating. Used in much the same way as laser targeting, special antennae heat up the water molecules in weeds to lethal temperatures, and also kills seeds in the upper soil layers. The system is claimed to be effective in any weather condition.

How it Works

Already demonstrated in small-field scale prototype form by Australian start-up GroWave, the technology has been shown to successfully kills a broad range of grassweeds, including herbicide resistant species. Using microwave antennae, commercial prototypes are in development, with tractor mounted trailer systems running from the power take-off. Solar powered robotic systems with optical recognition systems may follow if successful. Microwaves can penetrate 5cm of the soil surface, so as well as killing seeds, they also reduce soil beneficial bacteria, but it is claimed this is a short-term effect.

Farmer / Agronomist Benefits

Support the need for reliable and environmentally friendly methods for crop weed control. Seed bank reductive capability is also valuable for grassweed management. Another key benefit is the ability to use the technology during rain, wind or at night.

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