New York

Research to explore electric zap as an alternative to herbicides | News

Geneva — Weeds are a problem for all farmers.

But for those who grow organically, the challenges are even greater. They cannot rely on synthetic herbicides containing substances that many environmentalists believe are harmful to human health.

Cornell AgriTech, along with two West Coast universities, will participate in a $ 2 million study to provide an effective alternative to organic apple and vineyard farmers in orchards and vineyards by electrically impacting weeds. We are deciding if we can provide it.

Lynn Sosnoskie, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Integrated Plant Sciences at Cornell University, is a collaborator on a project to study electric weed control in perennial fruit crops. This three-year project is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Oregon State University and the University of California, Davis are two other participants, and Sosnoskie said multi-state studies were designed to see how the process works in different soils and climates. I said there is.

In New York, she said the study would take place in Geneva and Isaka.

Shocking weeds may seem like a new technology, but it’s not, Sosnoskie explained.

“It’s a very old technology,” she said. “The first patent was in the late 1800s.”

Scientists at Cornell University said the technique was also used in sugar beet in the 1970s to attack herbicide-tolerant weeds. It has also been tested in soybean fields.

Brazilian company Zasso has custom designed the weed zapper Cornell AgriTech for use in next spring and summer trials. It is first used on bare ground. According to Sosnoskie, it will be tested in organic apple orchards, vineyards and blueberry patches in 2023.

“Basically, it looks like a lawnmower deck,” she said. “The electrodes are on the bottom of the deck.”

The weed zapper is connected to a generator being carried by a tractor. When the electrodes come into contact, they send an electric charge to the plant, damaging the plant’s cells and chlorophyll and eventually killing it.

Sosnoskie explained that weed growth can damage crops and even fruits such as apples and grapes.

“Weeds can be really competitive,” she said, explaining that they can compete for pollination by water, nutrients, light, and insects, and can be a host of pests and diseases.

Due to the nature of planting apples, vines and other perennial fruits, crop rotation and intensive cultivation are not viable strategies for weed control.

Sosnoskie said Cornell University and other participating universities hope that the machine will provide another tool in the fight against weeds, even for organic and even non-organic farmers.

“We are excited,” she said. “Organic matter is limited (what can be used to control weeds), so we plan to deal with organic matter in particular. This information can be converted to traditional agriculture. For herbicide-tolerant weeds There is a problem.”

According to Sosnoskie, researchers determine not only the effects of weed impact, but also whether the process adversely affects the health of apple and vines, and soil.

Sosnoskie encourages farmers to see a demonstration project.

Via AP StoryShare

Research to explore electric zap as an alternative to herbicides | News

Source link Research to explore electric zap as an alternative to herbicides | News

Back to top button