UM00053 - Development of new non-chemical weed control technologies - Microwave control of weeds

Project Summary

Project Start Date
7 January 2013
Project End Date
30 June 2016
Supervisor Name
Graham Brodie
University of Melbourne

This project continues the development of microwave technology for weed management, from an original concept, tobe able to deliver a prototype system for use in the Australian grains industry. The project will address regulatoryrequirements as well as determine the most efficient and efficacious methods of controlling weeds of the Australiangrains industry. Therefore the project will proceed in two phases.

The first phase of the project will address the regulatory issues associated with the use of microwave technology forweed management in the Australian grain industry. Studies will include assessments on OH&S; radio frequencyinterference by the microwaves to other equipment used on or around farms and adherence to Australian andInternational Standards and legislation involving the use of microwave technologies.

The effect of growth stage on microwave energy requirement for plant mortality will be assessed on the key weed species, annual ryegrass and wild radish. At critical growth stages (e.g. seedling, tillering/bolting, flowering) the impact of increasing microwave energy on plant survival, biomass and reproductive capacity will be evaluated in a series of trials. A constant plant moisture content will be used through out these studies. These trials will determine the impact of growth stage on microwave energy requirement to achieve plant mortality. Subsequent studies will confirm the effecacy of microwave treatment at key growth stages for other weed species including: feathertop Rhodes grass, barnyard grass, barley grass, brome grass and wild oats.

The final phase of the project will involve the detailed design, analysis, fabrication and assessment of variousprototype concepts that could be used in a commercial farming system. This activity will culminate in an engineeringassessment and detailed specification of manufacture and operation of the system, which could be used forcommercial production beyond the life of the project.

Published Date
14 January 2016

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