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New Machine Zaps Weeds Electronically
Crop and vegetable producers looking for an alternative to chemical weed control have a new mechanical option called XPower, made by Zasso. The XPower uses pulsating electricity to kill weeds almost immediately. The current bursts chlorophyll cells, which destroys their water uptake system.
John Downes, precision farming specialist for CNH Industrial, which has teamed with Zasso to market the machine in Europe, says weeds will start wilting within 10 to 15 min. after treatment.
The machine produces electricity with a rear-mounted generator driven by the tractor pto. Power is transferred to a front-mounted applicator through a high voltage cable and connectors. Two rows of offset paddles make contact with the ground across the width of the machine, passing electricity through any plants on the soil surface, sending it down to their roots. A row of negatively charged paddles on back of the machine provide another burst of electricity, creating what Downes says is a double killing effect.
The XPower can zap any size weed, work in any temperature, and unlike many spray products, is able to kill herbicide-resistant weeds. Downes says the machine can run in the daytime or night and has negligible effects on earthworms. It can be used in burndown and field preparation or in row crops during the growing season.
The machine has good potential for orchards, vineyards and municipalities where herbicide applications are becoming more restrictive.
Downes says work continues on developing artificial intelligence and camera technology for the machine so it can recognize certain weeds and eliminate them, but not growing crops. Currently a 10-ft. wide machine is priced at around $200,000, so ownership will likely be confined to large operations or contract applicators. Two machines are currently working in Austria and Germany.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Zasso GmbH, Pascalstr. 12, 52076 Aachen, Germany (ph 011 49 2408 9380-100; info@zasso.de).

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2019 - Volume #43, Issue #6