Arrangement is set to offer a boost to veg growers looking for new weed-control technologies

Advanced weed control product specialist Garford Farm Machinery and electrical weed control manufacturer RootWave have signed a new collaborative agreement.

The rear-mount 6M Electric Weeder

The rear-mount 6M Electric Weeder

The tieup will see the two manufacturers co-develop new weeding technology and products, integrating electrical weeding into precision-guided toolbar systems, for high-value and high-intensive crops.

The RootWave system uses electricity to boil weeds and their roots. The company explains that this makes electrical weeding highly effective and, because it is non-chemical and does not disturb the soil, it is compatible with both organic and regenerative farming systems.

RootWave describes its patented high-frequency alternating current as “orders of magnitude safer than direct current, typically used in electrical weed control”.

Garford, meanwhile, has over 20 years of hoeing experience, with its innovations ranging from the Robocrop Vision Guidance System to the compact hydraulic side shift mechanism.

The Robocrop Guidance System allows for accurate and efficient hoeing for both in-row and inter-row weed management and prevention control. The system uses video cameras and image analysis computers to locate crop position and then guides the hoes quickly and accurately.

The company hopes the new eWeeding technology will provide a cost-effective and high-performance solution, creating financial and environmental benefits, while supporting better-quality crops that are not competing against weeds.

RootWave CEO Andrew Diprose said: “Combining forces with Garford allows us to create a formidable solution for the industry, combining best-in-class power electronics, imaging and artificial intelligence to create an unrivalled weed control solution for vegetables, cereals and row crops.

“It will alleviate the worries of farmers who are faced with an uncertain future where they don’t know if herbicides will be available, or will even be effective due to safety and resistance issues.”

Garford MD Jonathan Henry added: “We are incredibly excited to pair Garford’s vast experience in precision-guided hoes, with RootWave’s world-leading expertise in power electronics.

“With the increasingly stringent controls over the use of chemical weed management, alongside resistance issues, we can support UK and global agriculture as it embraces its environmental responsibilities.

“Combining our technologically advanced precision-guided weed-control solutions, with the benefits of RootWave’s high-frequency alternating-current electrical weeding technology, we can create commercially viable and effective solutions to growers, as a key part of a sustainable, integrated weed management system.”