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What is the best fit for electric weed control in Australia



Wine Australia will partner with the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, CRDC and GRDC to assess the best use of electric weed control in Australia, including broad scale grain cropping, fence lines/roadsides, viticulture, horticulture, rail and the broader community, in an effort to reduce reliance on herbicides.

This project aims to investigate the potential for use of ElectroherbTM technology for weed control in Australian industries. Specific weed targets include herbicide resistant weeds like annual ryegrass and wild radish, problematic cross boundary and cross industry weeds like feathertop Rhodes grass and fleabane, and perennial weeds like kikuyu and wireweed. This proposal will deliver innovation that improves existing established weed control methods by addressing management of glyphosate resistant weeds and other problematic species.


Weed control remains one of largest threats to global food security and environmental integrity. Agriculturalist, environmental managers, urban and managers of transport corridors have utilised herbicides to keep weeds at bay. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide for weed control in broad scale grain and cotton cropping, viticulture, annual and perennial horticulture  crops, native vegetation, amenity areas, roadsides, irrigation and drainage channels and rail corridors (train tracks). Use of glyphosate is currently under threat from resistance, international trade restrictions for products with glyphosate residues, and the negative public perception of this herbicide. However, loss of glyphosate threatens the successful control of a wide range of nationally distributed weeds. Other perennial species like kikuyu are increasingly problematic because they are not responsive to herbicide, and increasingly difficult to control in viticulture or horticulture crops.

An alternative to herbicide is electric weed control. Electric weed control devices deliver a lethal dose of electrical energy to plants and roots via electrodes that are in direct contact with the plants. These systems work as a closed electrical circuit; the high voltage electricity is generated locally from the mechanical energy of the tractor, passes via the electrode into the plants and then into the soil and the circuit is closed by a second electrode that touches other plants or the soil. This technology (marketed as ElectroherbTM) is currently utilised in Europe and Brazil for the control of weeds on roadsides or in viticulture. This technology may also be applicable to Australian food production industries, or weed control on roadsides, fence lines, rail (train tracks).

Sector benefits

The project will demonstrate the value and suitability of a new mechanical weed control technique to Australian agricultural industries, to improve existing weed control programs and reduce reliance on glyphosate and other herbicides.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.