(* Translation) “A weed control solution as effective as glyphosate and at a competitive price. It seems too good to be true. And yet. That’s what promises the Swiss firm, with its electric weeding system, Electroherb. This solution, which is under development in viticulture, could arrive in one to two years. The machine is already on the market in Brazil for other uses (communities, highways, etc.). The principle of the technology is quite simple: to apply an electric current on each weed. By crossing it, the current explodes the cells, causing the death of all his tissues, as well than underground. Zasso announces thus an effectiveness of three months without no earth movement or elevation soil temperature.
To allow “electrocution” of the weeds, the company has developed an equipment call the Electroherb, attached to a tractor. A generator, powered by a PTO, sends an electric current in a first row of electrodes, which happens to be in contact with weeds. A second row of electrodes, in contact with the ground, recovers the current and the redirects to the generator. The flow must be in the range of 3.000 to 7.000 volts per discharge, and 30 amperes. According to Zasso, even the most resistant herbs, are eradicated. “It’s all about voltage, contact time, and the type of applicator,” says the firm. And to do this it has developed, and patented, a system of self-regulation of the electrical dosage, depending on the height and density of the herbs, moisture and resistivity of the soil, weather conditions, etc. According to Zasso, the first effects of a application are visible 15 minutes after the passage.
No negative impact on worms of earth and springtails. In addition, this system is supposed to be harmless both for the vine (as it is not affected by the electrodes), only for the fauna of the soil “if we respect the right voltage, says Benjamin Ergas, of the company. Formal tests on earthworms and collembolans, made with various research institutes Germans (FIBL, Lanat, Gaiac) are being finalized and should to be published shortly. They go to this meaning. We are also in progress discussion with INRA. The Electroherb, which can be passed between 3 and 5 km/h, is for the moment developed only in interlining version. “But in 2018, we will work to an interceptive declination”, promises Benjamin Ergas. “Urban models that we have are close enough, this should not be too complicated. ” He foresees the arrival of a wine prototype 2018. “We will test it in Germany to winemakers, to make adjustments and necessary adaptations, he continues. The objective is to have a first solution in 2019. ”
The size and weight of the equipment are not yet known. But the company claims to be aware of the imperatives in the viticulture segment, both in terms of congestion and soil settlement. On the user side, the solution should be safe for the operator. “We have several systems of safety “, describes Benjamin Ergas. First, the current is flowing only if the circuit is closed. In addition, the machine is equipped with Lidar sensors, to detect any obstacle or anomaly. Finally, the applicators (electrodes) are covered, preventing any direct contact. From a financial point of view, things are not perfectly locked. “We wish to be competitive with glyphosate, nevertheless affirms Benjamin Ergas. We plan to work on a leasing system, with billing based on the use (itself estimated thanks to the distance traveled or the voltage used). But all this is still to be refined. “Let’s hope that the results meet the high expectations. Because if Electroherb looks promising, in the sense that the electric shock has an impact on the roots, says Christophe Gaviglio IFV, I have no information about energy consumption, security or a test result on crops. » To be continued.
Clara de Nadaillac”