27 November 2019, 15:06
AGXTEND, CNH Industrial’s incubator and commercialization brand for tech starts up, presents the revolutionary XPS Electric Weeding concept system in collaboration with Zasso. Electronic weed control allows a wider range of application and is at the same time particularly environmentally friendly, when compared to traditional chemical systems. With this development, AGXTEND is responding to the current challenges in weed control: increasing herbicide resistance, major restrictions on the approval of active ingredients, social efforts towards ecological agriculture and considerable public skepticism about pesticide applications. Meanwhile, pressure from agriculture to work more productively and achieve high yields is a further driving force.
Exclusive distribution partnership
CNH Industrial and Zasso have agreed on an exclusive distribution partnership for the XPS concept, which will be commercially available from Q4 2020 as a weeding treatment alternative in vineyards and in orchards.
For the 2020 season, AGXTEND will undertake the proof of concept with intensive field trials assessing its environmental impact and efficiency with relevant experts, customers and research institutes. The commercialized XPS concept will be in full conformity with applicable safety standards.
Following launch, a local network of Zasso-accredited agronomic advisers will be available to help support the crop protection needs of XPS users: pre-treatment diagnosis, technical itineraries, soil analysis, weeding strategies.
XPS for vines and orchards
The XPS concept is part of AGXTEND’s XPOWERTM family of electric weeding solutions. It was adapted by Zasso to address the specific weeding needs of wine and fruit growers.
The design process of the XPS concept is based on computer- generated simulations and validated using modern sensor technologies from the University of Applied Science Aachen, Germany. The mechanical solution consists of two static electrodes and one electrode swinging on two passive rotary axes. All parts are fixed on an isolating base structure constructed from fiberglass. The kinetics of the intercept arm were of particular focus, to optimize the weeding area while respecting stem integrity.
The applicators are fixed on a standard HEXAGON 729 hydraulic frame from CLEMENS GmbH & Co. 20 cm and 40 cm extensions can be added. Maximum operational safety is ensured through insulating materials and optimized mechanical geometries.
Systemic mode of action
XPOWERTM technology works by using electrical energy to target and primarily destroy the weeds’ water and nutrient supply system right down to the roots, as well as damaging the chlorophyll. The energy causes cells to burst and cell sap to seep into the intercellular spaces. The plant’s vascular bundles, its main arteries for water supply, are ultimately destroyed, desiccating the plant. The chlorophyll green leaf pigment is eliminated from the photosynthetic process and then carries on destroying itself, as it can no longer emit the absorbed light energy. The plants are therefore not destroyed thermally, but systemically.
The mode of action of XPOWERTM is best compared with that of glyphosate, working into the roots. Among its most important benefits, is that it is instant and residue-free.
An improvement in environmental, consumer and user protection
XPOWERTM allows farmers to reduce or replace synthetic crop protection products. It is a non-selective, systemic contact herbicide that can be used in most weather conditions and offers great flexibility. Fast acting and a long-lasting effect, it does not lose its efficacy in rain after application, unlike chemical weed control. Integration into existing weed control strategies can effectively reduce the use of synthetic herbicides and thus the prevention of future herbicide resistance. XPOWERTM can also prevent erosion and soil moisture loss, unlike mechanical weed control, and applications are not subject to legal restrictions such as proximity to water. In addition, the user does not come into contact with toxic substances and XPOWERTM leaves no residues. Neither soil, nor water nor insects are affected. As a result, XPOWERTM is a useful additional tool towards partial or total herbicide-free food production.
Sustainable weed control
Successful arable farming requires a sustainable weed control strategy. Increasing resistance coupled with decreasing product approvals has led to the need for new thinking in weed control. XPOWERTM offers this, thanks to an innovative and sustainable approach to weed control being cost-effective, efficacious, offering broad spectrum control whilst protecting the ecosystem. This provides farmers with a secure strategy for sustainable arable farming.
XPS will be available from Q4 2020 via AGXTEND certified dealers.
Source: AGXTEND; AG AMS M&DC Europe