Do you have an interest in field scale electrothermal weeders and being part of a project to make that happen?
Charles Merfield is leading a proposal to develop equipment in conjunction with Ubiqutek, a UK company who originally designed electric weeders and have weeders in use in the UK and HotGrass, the NZ agent.
The current commercial machines are ‘only’ hand held weeders aimed at the urban weed control market, e.g., councils, and their contractors. However, the handheld machines can clearly demonstrate the potential of electrothermal, and Kazel Cass of Hotgrass, is doing a series of demonstrations around the country which you may be interested in attending.
If you would like more information about electrothermal weeders have a look at the FFC Bulletin article.
In any normal situation, Ubiqutek and Hotgrass as the owners / suppliers of the weeders would be developing field weeders themselves, however, both are very small business startups with limited funding and people resources, so they are unable to start work on a field machines for several years. They also lack expertise in what is required from field machines especially for the different sectors, e.g., pasture, cropping, viticulture and other permanent crops, and therefore how to design them.
The aim of Charles Merfield’s project is to accelerate the development of a field scale weeder so that NZ farmers & growers get access much sooner. To do this he is seeking farmers and growers who are interested in the technology and willing to contribute some funding.