A ground-breaking mechanical weed chipper won the Rio Tinto Emerging Innovation award at the 2019 WA Innovator of the Year awards (IOTY). The IOTY awards showcase innovative business, products and individuals across Western Australia.
Designed by engineers and researchers from the University of Western Australian and the University of Sydney, the weed chipper provides an alternative to the use of chemicals (herbicides) to manage weeds in large-scale crop operations by using rapid response ‘tynes’ (mechanial hoes) teamed with sensing technology that detects and removes weeds.
From UWA’s School of Engineering, Dr Andrew Guzzomi and Dr Carlo Peressini worked beside David Nowland Hydraulics to design the mechanical system; whilst Associate Professor Michael Walsh of The University of Sydney managed the weed control testing.
UWA agricultural engineer Dr Guzzomi commented that the award was an excellent outcome for Australian grain growers and testament to farmer innovation: “This will help us accelerate the progression of research into an implement that will soon be commercially available to growers.”
“It is a fantastic outcome for Australian cropping and continues to demonstrate how innovative Australian farmers are.”
Director of Weed Research at The University of Sydney, Associate Professor Walsh, said the concept was drawn up when visitng grain growing regions in NSW and Queensland in 2012 with Western Australian growers Ray Harrington, Andrew Messina and Lance Turner.
Professor Walsh commented, “Progressing this research through a multidisciplinary partnership with financial support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation has allowed us to develop an alternative weed control technology that reduces our reliance on herbicides, which is a growing problem in Australia’s agricultural sector.”
The full list of winners can be found via the link below: