Exploring the potential of electric weed control: A review

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal Title

Weed Science


electro-weeding, electrophysical, non-chemical, Australian, herbicides


Weed management is a significant challenge that must be addressed both globally and in Australia, where traditional methods of control have become limited. The avoidance of mechanical practices has resulted in reduced erosion but has also led to an increased reliance on chemicals and a subsequent increase in rates of herbicide resistance. To address this challenge, alternative forms of weed management, such as electric weed control (electro-weeding), need to be considered. Electric weed control functions by transferring electrical current through the target plant following electrode contact, causing its cells to burst and either killing the plant or suppressing its growth. However, a multitude of variables, such as electrical power and speed of application, weed morphology and site-specific environmental conditions, can impact the use of electric weed control and its efficacy. While electric weed control holds promise and despite its recent global popularity with numerous companies producing machinery, the applicability, efficacy, and risks of using electric weed control internationally and in Australia have yet to be thoroughly analysed. Given the existing knowledge gaps, this review provides a comprehensive overview of the theory and recent advancements in electric weed control. Additionally, the review discusses the potential for resistance development and safety risks associated with electric weed control and presents an overview of modern machines and their application in various settings. It also highlights the need for further research to determine the applicability and efficacy of implementing this new weed control method before widespread adoption and integration into pest management strategies.