Developed by Swiss firm Zasso Group, and to be marketed as part of a suite of new Case IH precision farming technologies, the electro-herbicide technology, branded under the XPower name, has been developed in response to the need to find more sustainable solutions for weed control.
The XPower system essentially converts mechanical energy into electrical energy, substituting chemicals for high-energy electrons, applied through the weed leaves and working down through to the roots to damage weed chlorophyll.
Mounted on a tractor or its implement at a working width of 1.2-3.0m, the weed contact unit(s) create a high voltage. With the aid of a sensor and/or camera-based guidance system, XPower, controlled by the tractor’s Class 3 ISObus system.
Claimed to be as effective on larger weeds as smaller ones, the technique can be used to control weeds such as tall grass species in field crops and weeds with complex root systems such as couch (where soil disturbance can make problems worse).
“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,” said Case IH product marketing manager Maxime Rocaboy.