NUCROP is the electrifying solution available to every farmer and contractor looking for a sustainable, easy, and innovative solution to control weeds and desiccate potatoes without any residue

How it works

NUCROP is being developed by Nufarm and CROP.ZONE. It is based on a unique hybrid herbicide concept that combines a conductive liquid called Volt.fuel with electro-physical weeding. This technology is an alternative and complementary solution to chemical-based weed control. Application of Volt.fuel allows for optimised, safer electrical energy management as it uses much less power than other electric weeding technologies and raises agronomic efficacy.

Initially, NUCROP will focus on potato desiccation in Germany, France, the UK, and Benelux in 2021. We will be expanding the range of applications (greening control, weed control) and our geographic scope to include other countries from 2022 onwards. In bringing this solution to market, our aim is to reduce the rising pressure on farmers due to the phase-out of ever-more chemical herbicides and the need to replace them effectively – without compromising on product quality or climate protection and while conserving soil life and quality. We intend to launch NUCROP at prices that are competitive with current alternatives, enabling us to achieve fast growth.

NUCROP Logo

General principles

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NUCROP_Tractor_Illustration
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Field Sprayer

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Spray

Volt.fuel conductive liquid

  • Key to reduced electrical resistance, low energy requirement, safety, and efficacy
  • Consists of a nitrogen and phosphate-free mineral solution and an activator
  • Does not contain chemical herbicides
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Mechanical energy: 140 kW at the PTO shaft

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Volt.cube

  • Transformation to 112 kW of electrical energy
  • 16 high-voltage transformation and control units (7 kW [applicator], 2500–5000 V)
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Applicators

PD12M applicators

  • 16 applicators specifically designed for potato desiccation
  • Optimised for high efficacy and safety
  • Applicator width: 75 cm; applicator length: about 1 m (plate); about 40 cm of the handle reaches up to the boom
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Volt.boom

  • 12 m working width (2021)
  • 6 ha/h and more depending on speed (6+ km/h)
  • Minimises damage to soil, dams, and crops

Benefits

The unique NUCROP combination is highly efficient at controlling weeds with no residue compared to the chemical alternatives, and offers better efficacy and crop safety than mechanical interventions. Application of the conductive liquid and actual control of the weeds with electrical voltage are carried out in a single step.

Effective

  • Fast to dry down
  • Reliably efficient: does not depend on sunlight or longer dry periods
  • Systemic effects on leaves, stems, and roots depending on applicator design

Sustainable

  • Minimises the need for chemical herbicides and in many cases completely replaces them
  • Allows soil-conserving agricultural practices such as no-till, mulch seed, cover crops, etc.
  • Reduces erosion and water loss by preventing soil movement
  • Allows new and minor crops where no dedicated herbicides are available
  • Makes organic agriculture more effective and expandable
  • Complies with EU targets for Farm to Fork, climate strategy, and regional development targets

Innovative

  • Minimises energy use
  • Uses electrical power to fight weeds and desiccate potato haulm
  • Flexible toolbox to be part of precision farming
  • Marketing concept based on use
  • Carbon footprint

  • Efficacy

  • Labour cost

  • Speed

  • Safety

  • Selectivity

Who we are

Nufarm

Nufarm is one of the world’s leading developers and manufacturers of crop protection solutions and specialty seeds. For more than 100 years we’ve been finding more effective ways to fight disease, weeds, and pests to increase the yields of our customers’ crops, by turning world-leading scientific breakthroughs into local solutions.

Throughout its history, Nufarm has been creating new solutions to respond to farmers’ changing needs and yet there has perhaps never been a more exciting time to be part of the agricultural industry. Farmers around the world are being called on to produce more food with fewer resources and are increasingly at the forefront of global efforts to reduce the impact of humanity on our precious ecosystems. The products and solutions that Nufarm provides, both in conventional chemistry as well as biological products, play an important role in helping farmers feed more people while using natural resources such as land and water more efficiently.

With manufacturing and marketing operations based in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the United States, Nufarm employs more than 2,500 people, all of whom make a vital contribution to the company’s reputation for quality products, innovation, and first-class marketing and technical support. You can find more information at www.nufarm.com.

CROP.ZONE

CROP.ZONE was established in 2019 by a highly experienced team of agtech experts with decades of experience in the field. Today, CROP.ZONE’s hybrid herbicide solution is in active use in the field, demonstrating its efficacy in weed management, cover crop burn-down, and pre-harvest desiccation. CROP.ZONE offers electrophysical solutions to combat weeds and manage pre-harvest desiccation, providing farmers with an alternative tool against the backdrop of tighter regulatory requirements and societal expectations.

The innovative patented CROP.ZONE solution can replace a significant part of today’s chemical herbicide use and close the gaps resulting from reregistration. It provides a competitive alternative for weed management, thus contributing to yield optimisation and farm profitability while helping to achieve sustainability goals. CROP.ZONE’s solutions give the company a strong footing in the future agriculture market. You can find more information at www.crop.zone.

FAQs

Electric current with a voltage of 2000 to 5000 V is generated by the tractor with a PTO generator and special high-voltage units. Via special applicators, the current is passed through plants and, depending on the type of applicator, also through roots and soil. This destroys the water supply to the plants to such an extent that the plants dry out and die.

When treating with Volt.apply Nucrop and long-range applicators (LRA), desiccated roots, especially the taproot of thistles to a depth of about 15 cm have been observed so far. The depth of destruction also depends on the type of applicator, soil moisture, plant species and the amount of energy applied.

The operating speed in the field generally determines the application rate of energy per hectare. The trials in potatoes in 2020 showed that very good results can be achieved at 6 km/h. Therefore, speeds of 8-9 km/h are planned for the 2021 trials. Exact values will then result from further trials with the PD12M system.

In addition to driving, the driver must mainly take care of the speed of the tractor and the switching on and off of the sprayer and the electric unit during operation. Sprayer and Volt.apply have separate controllers in the cab. The drivers of the Volt.apply PD12M systems will be provided entirely by crop.zone in 2021. Accordingly, they all have good training and experience in operation.

Experiments to control green manure under normal farming conditions have shown that electrophysical treatment had no significant effect on earthworms in the soil. The Volt.apply Nucrop process further reduces the voltage and energy requirements. Nucrop takes the issue very seriously and is conducting ongoing ecotoxicological trials in 2021 also in comparison to other methods.

The Volt.apply Nucrop process is multifunctional both systemically and as a contact agent. Therefore, the applicators or Voltfuel have to be partially adapted. The current configuration has been developed and validated for potato siccation. Nucrop will further develop this configuration and validate its effectiveness for other areas. The goal is to enable many applications with just a few configurations.

Volt.fuel is sprayed onto the plants during electrophysical treatment with Volt.apply Nucrop. As with chemical herbicides, it is the key formulation that allows the active ingredient electric current to work effectively and minimizes the amount needed. As a result, the working width and treatment speed can be increased. The application to the target plants can also be even more targeted.

The active ingredient must always reach the site of action as effectively as possible. Therefore, the current must penetrate the contacted leaves with as little loss as possible and then destroy the water supply in stems and, in some cases, roots. Voltfuel bridges leaf hairs and irregularities on the leaves, softens wax layers and thus increases electrical conductivity. Less energy for more effect is the result.

In potatoes, an application rate of 300 L/ha has proven to be very good. Depending on the environmental conditions (haulm largely wilted, dew on the plants, etc.), a change may be appropriate in individual cases. Since the stream acts systemically, only wetting of the areas touched later is necessary. This reduces the dependence of the application rate on the total biomass.

Due to the phasing out of Reglone, a large gap in efficacy has arisen in potato siccation. Active ingredients such as carfentrazone and pyraflufen can compensate for this just within the permitted application range, even in favorable weather. Haulm topping and flaming cause further problems that can hardly be solved effectively, especially for seed potatoes, and may also lead to increased use of fungicides and insecticides.

Farms that are in the process of converting to organic farming often suffer particularly high weed pressure because previously chemically controlled large seed banks in the soil are suddenly less controlled. By increasing the organic content in the soil, thistles spread significantly. Nucrop is specifically developing methods to help transitioning farms control weeds as well.

Meet the team

Highly experienced and specialised colleagues are working across Europe to provide farmers with NUCROP, a simple and innovative alternative in crop protection. Do you have a question? Don’t hesitate to contact one of our colleagues!

Katrin Morgenstern

Project Lead

Katrin.morgenstern@nufarm.com

My passion for agriculture and new solutions is always part of my life as Regional Crop Manager for Broad Acre Crops in Nufarm since 2019. I am the Project lead for this innovative solution – NUCROP —  since Summer 2020 and discovered a completely new area of crop protection.

Bart De Vroome

Head of Customer Marketing, Benelux

bart.devroome@nufarm.com

My career in the crop protection industry started in 1988. I have been active for Nufarm since 2009. Initially as Sales Manager Netherlands and since 2015 as Marketing Manager Benelux. A challenging job in a company with clear growth ambitions! What really appeals to me within Nufarm is the entrepreneurship and the hands-on mentality!

Dr. Marc Stefan Frenger

Head of Customer Marketing, Germany

marc.frenger@nufarm.com

I joined Nufarm in September 2019 as Head of the German Regulatory team. Since then, I have been driving the registration of our products in Germany and Western/Northern Europe, allowing me to get to know our range of products in all its features. After a total of more than 6 years in the field of European registrations, I took over the management of the German marketing team in April this year and, together with my team, I am happy to be your contact for all matters related to Nucrop.

Louise Dalgliesh

Head of Customer Marketing, UK & Ireland

louise.dalgliesh@nufarm.com

I have been involved in sales & marketing of crop protection products for over 25 years. Joining Nufarm in September 2019 was the start of very exciting times with the acquisition of an interesting portfolio of new products. The commitment to invest in new technology like NUCROP and living by the strategy of putting the customer at the centre of everything we do is what sets Nufarm apart.

Noël Schermesser

Head of Customer Marketing, France

Noel.Schermesser@nufarm.com

Having joined Nufarm in 2011, I have since covered different marketing roles, both at European level and in the French business. I have a broad knowledge of French distribution networks and a strong technical background. I lead the Nufarm Marketing team in France and will direct your questions or requests to the right person to handle them.

Christian Haschka

Media Relations

Christian.Haschka@nufarm.com

With many years of experience in the international crop protection business, I look forward to having this exciting new technology as part of the Nufarm portfolio. I look forward to presenting the NUCROP solution to media representatives from all over Europe.

Dirk Vandenhirtz

Chief Executive Officer

dirk.vandenhirtz@crop.zone

After training as a biologist specialising in plants and ecotoxicology, I founded CROP.ZONE and serve as the company’s CEO. For over 20 years, as an entrepreneur and managing director, it has been my mission to seek out new technical challenges and find solutions through new technologies that unite agriculture and environmental protection. With NUCROP, we are starting a new chapter for agriculture.

Fabian Effey

Chief Technology Officer

fabian.effey@crop.zone

Applying my experience as a mechanical engineer and inquisitive inventor and innovator, I plan and organise deliveries of the Volt.apply devices down to the last detail. This ensures that they arrive safely, on time and in the high quality required to master all further challenges that await them in the field.

Nils Gerber

Chief Information Officer

nils.gerber@crop.zone

With my broad IT background and the courage to break new ground, I find solutions for all tasks that arise in the development of equipment for innovative precision agriculture. Besides corporate communication, communication with and between the machines is becoming increasingly important. The machines then provide us with the data and information we need to make agriculture even more precise.

Benedikt Hayer

Field Operation Manager

benedikt.hayer@crop.zone

With my broad background and extensive field experience including Australia, I know what the field and the farmer need. On this basis, I organised the Volt.apply equipment that will be used in many countries in Europe from 2021. I also ensure that delays to the introduction of the NUCROP systems to the fields due to bad weather are kept to an absolute minimum.

Matthias Eberius

Chief Scientific Officer CSO

matthias.eberius@crop.zone

As a trained chemist and ecotoxicologist, I have been seeking out the interface challenges for over 25 years, where people, science, and technology are brought together with the environment and especially plants to create something innovative. Only if we understand the science-based relationships and can communicate them clearly can we have a stable basis for real innovation.

Michiel De Jongh

Strategic Advisor & Chief Communication Officer

Michiel.DeJongh@crop.zone

With a successful career in the international crop protection industry, I became part of the CROP.ZONE team early after its foundation. From Spain, I now also contribute strategically to the success of CROP.ZONE in association with Nucrop and am excited to help bring great innovation to the fields here.

Contact

Would you like more information about NUCROP technology, machine availability, or the Early Adopters programme? Send us a message.