THE development of chemical-containing capsules, and an applicator to insert them into woody weeds, is proving an effective and much safer method of applying traditional herbicides for woody weed control.
BioHerbicides Australia (BHA) has developed the technology for inserting pharmaceutical-grade capsules containing herbicide directly into the trunks of trees and hard-to-kill woody weeds.
BHA managing director Peter Riikonen said the basis of the company’s philosophy was to develop new methods to control tree weeds that were economical, environmentally safe and safe for operators.
When BHA first started working with the concept, capsules were applied using a hand drill and sealing with a cork gun.
But the company soon realised that, to be attractive to operators, the application and sealing of capsules would have to be at least semi-automated.
Now, they have developed an applicator with a circular magazine that holds 30 capsules and plugs and is driven by a battery-operated hand drill.
“A hole is drilled into the trunk of the woody weed tree, the drill bit retracts, the capsule and plug are then inserted into the hole, sealing the capsule within the trunk,” Mr Riikonen said.
“Once that capsule is inserted, it’s the last time the chemical has any level of exposure whatsoever to the environment, delivering a precise small dose only to the target tree.
“This method dramatically reduces the need for personal protective equipment and requires minimal training, making it significantly safe for the environment and the operator, eliminating all contact with the herbicide.”
Mr Riikonen said the system had now been trialled at more than 500 sites around Australia over the past 18 months and the proponents were now looking to expand into the market.
“We are now keen to build on the positive outcomes here in Australia and work towards engaging with a global supplier of herbicide products to the woody weed market, so we can speed up the delivery of safety benefits to broad, global market,” he said.
Source: BHA, www.bioherbicides.com.au