AUSTRALIAN farmers may soon have a new weapon to combat weeds thanks to Melbourne University engineer, Graham Brodie, who has developed technology that destroys weeds by exposing them to microwaves.
The technology, based on the common household microwave, was showcased to leading Australian vegetable and potato growers earlier this year at the AUSVEG Future Technologies seminar.
USVEG spokesperson Hugh Gurney said the technology highlighted the ground-breaking innovation for which Australian agriculture was famous.
Australian agriculture has consistently produced innovative solutions to on-farm challenges.
The microwave weed killer is mounted on a trailer, pulled by a tractor, and works by firing low intensity microwaves at weeds in the ground, causing the weeds to shrivel and die.
"With many weeds developing a resistance to traditional herbicides, an alternative, chemical-free way to eliminate destructive weed pests will be a welcome addition to the Australian vegetable growers' armoury," Mr Gurney said.
Dr Brodie was one of the presenters at the AUSVEG Future Technologies seminar, held in conjunction with the 2012 AUSVEG National Convention, Trade Show and Awards for Excellence.
The microwave weed elimination technology generated a high level of interest within the Australian vegetable- growing community, with many growers recognising its potential.
"Australian agriculture has consistently produced innovative solutions to on-farm challenges and this technology often becomes the industry standard for farmers globally," Mr Gurney said.
"Due to the enormous success of the 2012 Future Technologies seminar, the 2013 event will be expanded to feature the most innovative agricultural scientists in Australia, and it is planned that global researchers will be added to the list of presenters."
The 2013 Emerging Technologies seminar will take place prior to the AUSVEG National Convention, Trade Show and Awards for Excellence, to be held at Jupiters Gold Coast from May 30-June 1.
"Dr Brodie's microwave technology was one of a number of innovative concepts presented at the 2012 seminar and the 2013 forum is expected to be one of the most exciting and talked-about events in the Australian agricultural calendar," Mr Gurney said.
AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing Australia's 9000 vegetable and potato growers.