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Electro thermal control of weed beet beta maritima and bolting sugar beet beta vulgaris

Electro thermal control of weed beet beta maritima and bolting sugar beet beta vulgaris

Weed Research 20(5): 311-322

The proportions of weed beet and bolting beet in sugar beet crops is increasing, and as much as 24% of beet acreage may now be badly infested. Mechanical and chemical methods of control are being developed, but neither is completely satisfactory. The use of electricity as a means of control was investigated. High voltages around 5 kV rms [root mean square] can physically destroy annual beet in pots in under 20 s. Maximum currents vary according to the plant size and range 0.5-1 A rms for bolters 1-1.4 m high. It is not necessary to completely burn the plant in two to kill it and various ways of minimizing the treatment for speed and energy economy are suggested. Field trials using hand-held electrodes to apply the electric currents to annual beet growing among a crop showed that much larger powers (up to 20 kW) were necessary to kill the plants. A tractor-driven system was constructed producing 8 kV rms which enabled it to cover 6 rows and travel at speeds up to 1.6 km/h and it removed 75% of the bolting and weed beet.

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