The Electroherb™ Technology - A new technique supporting modern weed management

Maximilian Koch, Tobias Tholen, Pascal Drießen, Benjamin Ergas
2020
The introduction of chemically based weed control has largely replaced mechanical practices. Legal restrictions on chemical herbicides with adverse environmental impacts and developing weed resistances are driving the development of new physical methods. The Electroherb™ technology is based on a non-selective, systemic electrical flow through the plants' vascular system causing severe cell destruction and ultimately wilting, as mode of action. The physical contact with high-voltage electrodes
more » ... oltage electrodes touching weed plants enables the electric current to operate only at the time of application without residues and avoids genetical selectivity. The minimum energy threshold for a lethal effect is related to the energy transferred to a single plant in dependence of the number and stability of vascular bundles to be damaged, the electrical resistance of the plant and soil, the contact time and the electrode voltage and current. The efficiency of weed control in the field depends on the plant species, morphology, growth stage and population density. The damage in the subterrestrial plant parts, such as extensive root systems, is more severe under dry than moist soil conditions because the electric current can reach deeper root parts before being dissipated into the soil. Limitations of electric weed control as primary applications were identified at high lignifying plant densities, as well as multi-stem species due to shielding effects which impede electrode contact. However, combinations of mechanical methods and Electroherb™, integrated desiccation using Electroherb™ and chemicals as well as direct substitution of chemical herbicides for established cultivation methods, such as minimum tillage cultivation, can make this unique technique a sustainable substitute when chemical herbicides lose authority approvals. Hence, an early implementation of the Electroherb™ technology in existing herbicide management strategies appears to offer a successful advantage to eliminate the existing resistance problems, when complied wisely into [...]
doi:10.5073/jka.2020.464.039 fatcat:u34jvkqhkjdm5hf7kz666iiykm