© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Christchurch to test new weed killing technology

Antoinette Spicer

An electrothermal control tool, which kills weeds by sending 5000 volts down root systems, has arrived in Christchurch for a 12-month trial.

The Christchurch City Council is funding the technology trial as part of their initiative to switch out poisons for green sprays.

Head of the BHU Future Farming Centre Dr Charles Merfield said he believes now is the time to shift towards more sustainable weed management tools.

"Herbicide resistance is now a massive global issue. There are some 500 weeds that are herbicide resistant, more than 40 of those are resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and there are 26 formally identified resistant weeds in New Zealand.”

Avon-Ōtākaro spokesperson Evan Smith said recent trials the technology have helped combat difficult to kill yellow flag iris weeds along the Avon river.

Smith described the technology as a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ and said it was the only one of its kind in New Zealand and the southern hemisphere.

Avon-Ōtākaro spokesperson, Sarah Butterfield, said if the trial goes successfully, she hopes to see half a dozen electrothermal control tools used in Christchurch.