Midwest Universities Researching Electric Weed Control

Southern Illinois University Carbondale is collaborating on a project testing the use of electricity to control weeds in agricultural settings. Karla Gage, associate professor of weed science and plant biology, is working with researchers Mandy Bish and Kevin Bradley from the University of Missouri on testing The Annihilator 6R30 Weed Zapper. The tool is a patented electric weed control unit mounted to a tractor. The multistate project is funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program with support from the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, who purchased the implement, and includes researchers from Iowa State University, University of Nebraska, Kansas State University and Purdue University. Gage states herbicide resistance means “growers are looking for new weed control tools to use.” While electricity is one alternative, another option researchers are exploring is called harvest weed seed control. In that method, weed seeds are managed or destroyed before they go back into the soil seed bank to germinate the following season.