WA based company Precision Agronomics Australia (PAA) has partnered with The University of Western Australia (UWA) to commercialise the novel Weed Chipper technology.
PAA, the developers of the i4M brand of machine controllers and monitoring solutions, will design and develop the Weed Chipper technology for sale and distribution to Australian farmers.
The Weed Chipper concept was the inspiration of a group of Australian growers and was subsequently designed by Agricultural Engineers and Researchers from UWA and The University of Sydney and funded by the Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC). It uses specifically designed rapid response ‘tynes’, which behave like mechanical hoes when triggered by commercially available sensing technology when weeds are detected in fallow paddocks.
Herbicide resistance is a major problem for Australian farmers due to the loss of valuable herbicide options such as glyphosate for fallow weed control. With no new herbicides to replace those lost due to resistance and growing public concerns on the use of herbicides, alternative weed control solutions need to be found.
“Progressing this research through a multidisciplinary partnership has allowed us to develop an alternative to herbicidal weed control, which is a growing problem in Australia’s agricultural sector,” Dr Michael Walsh, University of Sydney said.
“This is the first example of a mechanical approach to site-specific weed control in Australian grain production systems.”
Dr Andrew Guzzomi, UWA’s inaugural agricultural engineer, led the engineering on the project and is eager to see the mechanical technology produced by a local WA company and in the hands of growers.
“Having PAA come on-board with the Weed Chipper now enables this site-specific targeted tillage option for use in Australian cropping systems which is a great outcome for our farmers” Dr Guzzomi said.
Matthew Roesner, the Director of Precision Agronomics Australia, said his company was excited about the opportunity to work with UWA to offer cutting-edge technology to the industry and continue to advance agricultural research and development in Australia.
“This is an ideal project for us to be involved in given PAA’s commitment to producing new technologies that provide measurable productivity gains for our customers,” Mr Roesner said.
“PAA is particularly excited about commercialising the Weed Chipper, it is another great example of Australian grower innovation”
The technology took out the Rio Tinto Emerging Innovation award category at the 2019 WA Innovator of the Year awards – recognition of its potential as an essential weed control arsenal.