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.
Volt.fuel conductive liquid
Mechanical energy: 140 kW at the PTO shaft
In the 2021 season, potato growers can participate in the Early Adopters programme. Access to the technology is simple: NUCROP relies on the usual distribution channel via marketing partners. In the first season, machines will be available in France, Germany, and Benelux, where we will carry out the first extensive test and practical programmes. Development and testing is underway for other applications such as intercropping and pre-seeding, inter-row weed control (industrial or perennial crops), post-harvest use, and also for railway lines. We expect that further applications in addition to potato desiccation will be available from 2022.
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.
targeted application width in 2022
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 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.
How does the Volt.apply Nucrop technology work?
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.
To what depth are the roots destroyed?
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.
What is the driving speed in operation?
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.
How is Volt.apply Nucrop operated in the field?
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.
What influence does Volt.apply Nucrop have on soil life?
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.
Which areas of application are recommended and why?
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.
What is Volt.fuel?
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.
How does Voltfuel work?
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.
What is the application rate per ha?
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.
Why is Nucrop 2021 focusing on potatoes?
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.
How can Volt.apply Nucrop contribute to the conversion to organic agriculture?
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.
20 April 2021 | Nufarm announced it has converted its existing financial investment in agtech start-up CROP.ZONE to an equity holding.
20 January 2021 | Nufarm and CROP.ZONE launch new Brand for Alternative weed control.
19 October 2020 | Nufarm and Crop.Zone announce collaboration to bring alternative weed control to major European markets
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!
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.
Head of Customer Marketing, Benelux
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!
Head of Customer Marketing, Germany
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.
Head of Customer Marketing, UK & Ireland
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.
Head of Customer Marketing, France
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.
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.
Chief Executive Officer
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.
Chief Technology Officer
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.
Chief Information Officer
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.
Field Operation Manager
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.
Chief Scientific Officer CSO
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.
Strategic Advisor & Chief Communication Officer
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.
Would you like more information about NUCROP technology, machine availability, or the Early Adopters programme? Send us a message.
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