An Australian AgTech startup has secured a million dollar seed investment to commercialise technology that could revolutionise the agriculture industry and wipe out the need to use harmful chemicals to control weeds.
The Growave technology invented by researchers at the University of Melbourne, harnesses the power of microwaves to kill weeds from the inside and rids soil of emergent weeds, dormant seeds as well as reduces pathogens and their impact.
“With the economics of the solution so compelling, the technology has the potential to have an impact on a broad range of agricultural markets including horticulture, broad acre and viticulture.” said Paul Barrett, Growave Director and head of physical sciences at IP Group.
What does this funding mean for Growave?
The seed investment came from IP Group, Grain Innovate and Artesian and will be used to take the novel, chemical-free weed treatment to a global market.
“This represents the fifth investment by IP Group in ANZ with its partnership agreement with the Group of Eight and University of Auckland, said Mr Barrett.
“While there is strong international interest in the technology, Growave will firstly focus on domestic markets with new trials commencing on farmland at Dookie in Victoria and in Southern Queensland in the Lockyer Valley on an organic vegetable farm.”
“It is anticipated in 18 months the Growave technology will be ready for commercial deployment. Herbicide resistance is a growing problem worldwide so people are looking for alternative ways to manage weeds.”
“The modular design of the technology means Growave can be integrated into existing farming operations, not only reducing or eliminating the need for herbicides, but also saving labour associated with weed management,” said Dr Graham Brodie from the University of Melbourne.
“It can be mounted onto a tractor or trailer, and used in wet or windy weather, unlike herbicides and soil fumigation,” said Dr Brodie.
“As no chemicals are used, treated crops and fields do not require isolation. It is environmentally friendly and less expensive per hectare than most alternatives.”