Biosystems Engineering professor, Dr. Mark Siemens, has recently been featured in two separate news articles highlighting the work he is doing on killing pesky weeds. In a project funded by the Arizona Cotton Growers Association and Cotton Incorporated, Dr. Siemens is looking into killing weeds of cotton plants that have become resistant to the herbicides.The solution he worked is fingerweeders. Fingerweeders work in-row, where traditional knives and rolling cultivators can’t get to, and with the aid of camera-guidance achieve weed removal between the plants. Most in-row weeding tools have steel fingers and are rough on the plants, but this one uses rough rubber fingers to gently remove the weeds. During this project they have found that they are even gentle enough to be used on young cotton in the two to four leaf stage of life. To learn more about this story, please visit: https://www.kult-kress.com/herbicide-resistance-in-cotton-leads-to-new-approaches/.
The University of Arizona was also featured by "The Packer" magazine where they discussed Dr. Siemens research that looks at automating the weed killing function. Dr. Siemens states that “The current technology that is commercially available is able to weed between the individual crop plants in the row but they are mechanical devices and leave a couple inches either side of the plant to prevent damaging them. What our research is doing is trying to get the weeds that are very close to the crop plant that these commercial machines cannot remove.” His team has developed a precision spray assembly capable of delivering herbicides at the centimeter level of accuracy with minimal off-target spray at travel speeds of 2 miles per hour. This exciting technology is going to continue to be researched and developed with the hope of it becoming a viable commercial product that saves farmers time and money. For more information on this story, please visit: https://www.thepacker.com/article/research-looks-automating-weed-killing-function.