Thursday, 7 November 2019

A mechanical weed chipper designed by engineers and researchers from UWA and The University of Sydney last night won the Rio Tinto Emerging Innovation award category at the 2019 WA Innovator of the Year awards.

The weed chipper serves as a ground-breaking alternative to the use of herbicides for weed management in large-scale cropping operations. The technology uses specifically designed rapid response ‘tynes’, which behave like mechanical hoes, coupled with commercially available sensing technology to detect and chip out weeds.

The WA Innovator of the Year (IOTY) awards showcase innovative and entrepreneurial individuals, businesses and creative minds and provide support to innovators and entrepreneurs across the State.

Dr Andrew Guzzomi and Dr Carlo Peressini from UWA’s School of Engineering worked closely with David Nowland Hydraulics to design the mechanical system.

The University of Sydney’s Associate Professor Michael Walsh led the weed control testing in partnership with researchers from The University of Queensland and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

UWA agricultural engineer Dr Guzzomi said 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,” Dr Guzzomi said.

“It is a fantastic outcome for Australian cropping and continues to demonstrate how innovative Australian farmers are.”

Associate Professor Walsh, Director of Weed Research at The University of Sydney, said the initial concept was conceived during a visit to the northern grain growing regions of NSW and Queensland in 2012 while he was working at UWA, with Western Australian growers Ray Harrington, Andrew Messina and Lance Turner.

“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,” Associate Professor Walsh said.

Media references

Dr Andrew Guzzomi (UWA School of Engineering) 08 6488 3883

Nicholas Smith (UWA Media Officer) 08 6488 1888


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Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences — School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering — UWA Institute of Agriculture