Press release November 12, 2023
crop.zone and John Deere win Agrifuture Award
Electric weed and cover crop control
crop.zone and John Deere have won a DLG Agrifuture Concept award for the Dual.Volt.24M – a technology for electric, systemic and herbicide-free crop treatment at a working width of 24 metres.
The new conceptual system enables crop desiccation as well as non-selective weed and cover crop control as a chemical-free solution, plus having the functions of modern crop protection sprayers combined in one machine. This increases productivity, versatility and usability of existing electric plant control. Electric plant control saves crop protection cost, reduces environmental impact and provides an alternative solution for applications where synthetic chemicals are either not available, not allowed, or have limited effectiveness. The treatment process starts with the application of an electrolyte solution (volt.fuel) to enhance plant conductivity Then specially-developed electric applicators pass through the plants and apply up to 5,500 volts. The destruction of the water- and nutrient-carrying vascular bundles in the plant causes it to wither.
"In cooperation with John Deere, we have been able to double the working width, enabling faster and at the same time more precise crop management," says Dirk Vandenhirtz, CEO of crop.zone. The Dual.Volt.24M prototype is based on the trailed John Deere R900 Series sprayer thus enabling farmers to combine this new crop protection approach with high-precision spraying technology from John Deere. Jørgen Audenaert, Small Grain Production System Manager Region 2 at John Deere, says: “With crop.zone's knowledge in electric crop management and the John Deere expertise in precision farming and spraying technology, it has been possible to develop a prototype for a very promising complementary solution for sustainable crop protection.”
The Dual.Volt.24M is currently a concept study. A first prototype has been built and tested. In 2024, crop.zone will test the prototype extensively in several applications with a wide range of farmers.