Across the globe, new technology is contributing to the ongoing battle against unwanted weeds.
The U.S. Air Force is using a new form of weed control. Instead of conventional methods like pesticides, the Air Force is killing weeds with laser beams.
NatureZap, developed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, is a wand that emits a concentrated beam of heat and light to target “unwanted vegetation” like weeds.
According to Takepart, Global Neighbor manufactured the NatureZap device and has received approximately $900,000 to put the device into practice.
“We’ve had a pretty good success rate,” said Jon Jackson, president of Global Neighbor. “We get about a 70 to 80% die-back without regrowth.”
A Minnesota study found that within a single square foot of soil, there can be anywhere from 98 to 3,068 weed seeds present.
This new device can directly kill weeds underground.
“If it truly works,” said Nathan Donley, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “I think it will be very successful because change cannot come quickly enough in the world of pest management. Most weed-killing chemicals in use today have been around for more than 50 years. Innovation is nonexistent in this realm.”
A lack of innovation over the last few decades within the weed and pest control industry may be evident, but times certainly are changing. Not only is there a way to combat weeds with essentially a laser beam stick, some farmers are battling these unwanted plants with unmanned aerial vehicles, which are also known as drones.
Farms.com reports that in Alberta County, a drone operation has been implemented to combat noxious weeds that could potentially cause harm to humans, crops, and animals.
“We will be able to look at infra-red and near infra-red spectrums,” said Jeff Fleischer, an agricultural fieldman for Rocky View County. “Every species of plant gives off a different spectrum, so you would actually be able to fly over a piece of land, take that information and separate the different spectrums and identify if you were looking for a certain plant, it will identify it from the air.”
The future is now when it comes to weed and pest control.