StartUp Electrocutes Weeds For Non-Chemical Control

British agtech startup RootWave is looking to provide a new way to control weed pressures—without the use of any chemicals. The technology electrocutes weeds boiling them inside out from the root up.

As RootWave CEO Andy Diprose explains, this approach is in direct response to the growing restrictions for pesticide use in the European Union.

“With countries such as France and Germany looking to phase out Roundup, and 66% of pesticides having been banned in the last 15 years, this technology is looking to be a solution,” Diprose says.

RootWave began to pursue the technology for agricultural application after successfully launching a professional hand-weeder for parks and gardens. In November 2016, the startup received a grant from the EU totaling 1.3 million Euros to create an automated agricultural solution.

“We’re directly replacing mechanical hoes or chemicals sprays with a zap,” he says.

The RootWave system takes power from the tractor PTO, runs it through an alternator and then their proprietary “black box.” The output is then wired to an electrode, which delivers the electrical shock to the weed.

Right now the company is actively pursuing investment as well as machinery partners so they can integrate their technology into existing weeding platforms. They’ve already conducted multiple field trials with Steketee recently acquired by Lemken. The target weed height for the technology is 2” (or 5 cm.) And the company aims to have units globally available by 2020.

Watch a video of the technology below:


Latest News

Is There Anything New from the Latest Farm Bill Debate?

We need to know the final funding level in the debt limit debate before there are can be any attempt to mix and match farm bill titles and funds.

Big Oil is Teaming Up With Big Ag, And it Could Turn Cover Crops Into the New Cash Crop for Farmers

Renewable diesel is revving up interest from both agriculture and the oil industry, and now oil and agriculture companies are teaming up to find additional crop sources to fuel the growing demand.

Tyson Foods Plant Closure Raises Antitrust Concerns Among U.S. Farmers and Experts

Tyson Foods gave its chicken suppliers two months' notice of its plan to shut a Virginia processing plant in May, raising concerns among farmers and legal experts about Tyson's compliance with antitrust regulations.

The Scoop Podcast: Overcome Barriers, Instill Confidence, and Improve Performance

Tim McArdle is working as the ResponsibleAg Industry Ambassador. He highlights how ResponsbileAg is an industry program for the industry that “lights the way for you to be in compliance.”

Southern States: Rebuilding for The Next 100 Years

This year marks the cooperative’s 100th year in business. And as Steve Becraft describes, there’s more to celebrate than the centennial milestone.

The Carbon Games: Agricultural Producers Still Looking for the Leaderboard

“What we need to do to move carbon past the starting line is to show farmers the scoreboard and tell them exactly what they need to do to earn their points,” said Mitchell Hora.