Generic crop protection business Nufarm is collaborating with a German start-up company over the introduction of an electrochemical method of weed control in Europe.

CROP.ZONE, an agritech business established at Aachen in Western Germany last year, has patented a weed control system which pre-treats the target plants with an organic, regulated conductive liquid spray, followed by an electrical charge to destroy the plant. This can be achieved in a single pass.

The company says the system controls weeds with a high degree of efficiency and low energy consumption compared to conventional technologies, offering European growers a safe, reliable, environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative.

It adds that its hybrid non-selective herbicide approach has been proven in weed management, cover crop destruction and pre-harvest desiccation. Development work is underway on row crop treatments and selective/precision type offerings for the future.

The technology will be released to growers in Germany and the Benelux countries in 2021, initially for potato haulm desiccation to help replace the withdrawn diquat active. A wider European roll-out using the Nufarm distributor network will follow, with some UK availability possible in 2021, but certainly in 2022.

“We’re looking forward to partnering with CROP.ZONE in the development and commercialisation of this exciting new technology,” states Nufarm’s regional general manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hildo Brilleman. “It has great potential for crops where chemical weed control options have been reduced and for customers looking for organic alternatives.”

CROP.ZONE chief executive Dirk Vandenhirtz adds: “We are delighted to have found a strategic partner in Nufarm, a company with more than 100 years of experience in crop protection and established relationships with a strong network of distributors across Europe.

“Our solutions comply with organic farming guidelines and offer farmers a fast, efficient, and cost-effective alternative to known chemical treatments.”