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Weed killing workshop: Weed management and electrothermal technology

28/02/2019 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

A revolutionary new weed management technology is now available in New Zealand. To better understand the technology and to train and certify uses, local workshops are being hosted by Avon-Otakaro Network, Lincoln University’s Future Farming Centre, Hot Grass and the Christchurch City Council.
About the speaker: Charles Merfield
9:00 to 10:00 am – Overview of weed management and electrothermal technology – Dr Charles Merfield
Designed particularly for top level people such as elected officials, high and mid-level managers, and also those responsible for vegetation management on the ground, but not necessarily the actual workers.
Summary: The use of herbicides for vegetation / weed management is entering its fully predicated endgame due to the rapid increase in herbicide resistant weeds.  To date some 26 weeds have been formally identified as herbicide resistant in NZ and many times that are likely to exist out in the wild.  At the same time, societies tolerance of herbicides and pesticides continues to decline as science continues to discover unanticipated health and environmental effects, and, their use often worsens the multiple planetary challenges civilisation faces, such as biodiversity loss, climate change and loss of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment into what where NZ’s clean waterways.  To address these multiple issues a re-evaluation of vegetation / weed management is presented along with a road map to the solution.  Christchurch City and its surrounding Councils are challenged with leading the change in New Zealand on this issue.  The session finishes with a high level introduction to thermal and especially electrothermal weed management, and explains why electrothermal is more like herbicides than flame and steam weeders. 
10:00am – 10:30am Morning Tea (provided)
10:30am – 1:00pm – Detailed discussion on electrothermal solution  – Dr Charles Merfield
This session is aimed at those responsible for vegetation management (managers, contractors and workers).
Summary: The second session is aimed at managers and front line workers responsible for on the ground vegetation / weed management, and everyone interested in a more detailed understanding of thermal weeding, i.e., steam, flame, and electrothermal.  This session will provide attendees with the foundational knowledge to properly understand thermal weeding, its strengths and weaknesses, and a critical understanding of the differences between the three approaches.  It covers the fundamental physics of the three approaches and explains why electrothermal is more like herbicides than flame and steam, its 100+year history and why it has the potential to replace glyphosate / Roundup in many weed management scenarios.  It will also provide vital information on how the physics of heat and biology of plants interact: without which it is impossible to understand thermal weeding, and therefore to make good policy, management, and budgetary decisions and to effectively implement thermal weeding on the ground.  It concludes with a section dedicated to electrothermal weeding, its history, potential and practical examples of how electricity and plant biology interact allowing users to predict and achieve the most effective on the ground results.
1:00pm – 1:30 pm Break for Lunch – please bring your own.
1:30 pm – 4:00pm Electrothermal weed management theory & practical demonstration  – Kazel Cass, Hot Grass.
This session is aimed at those responsible for vegetation management (managers, contractors and workers).
Summary: Kazel will be sharing the results of a number of case studies that have been conducted in the Bay of Plenty covering key invasive weed species that have had excellent preliminary results include wild ginger, agapanthus, thistle and Acanthus mollis (bear’s breeches). A demonstration of the RootWave Pro electrothermal weeding machine will follow which will show before and after effects of treating weeds with 5000 volts of electricity, with plenty of time for a practical overview of how the machine works and what some site-specific hazard management practices would be.


9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Kazel Cass
Kyle Sutherland


First Floor Function Room, Civic Offices
53 Hereford St
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