An ITB project

Desherb’avenir is an event organized every 2 years by ITB (French sugar beet institute) to demonstrate mechanical weeding solutions to French sugar beet growers. During the last edition in 2019, 1600 visitors attended the presentations. But due to the Covid-19 situation in France the event has been cancelled this year and replaced by a virtual edition supported by a pedagogic video. This short video explains the advantages of mechanical weeding to farmers and partners of the sugar industry: 

  • Sugar beet is very sensitive to weed competition. Mechanical weeding is an effective way of reducing the use of chemicals. When weather conditions are good, mechanical weeding can substitute the chemical one. ITB’s research demonstrates that the costs of using chemical solutions are similar to a combined chemical and mechanical approach, around 200€ per hectare.
  • Different strategies can be successfully used for weeding. The different kinds of equipment currently available are: cultivators with fingerweeders, tined harrows, rotative weeders, and row-specific band spraying booms. You can use one or a combination of tools to improve the weeding on and between the rows.
  • Different guidance systems are available to reduce crop losses, for example: guided wheels by a furrow created during seeding, a camera system or a RTK GPS. The costs are very variable and depend on the precision wanted by the farmer.
  • The future of mechanical weeding may involve using more robots and other technologies. Robots are equipped with cameras and GPS RTK and will enable farmers to reduce repetitive chores and save time. But robots still need further improvements concerning security and autonomy.

This video also explains the importance of controlling weeds in sugar beet fields to reduce the attractiveness for pollinators, as mentioned in the neonicotinoid prevention plan.

This video and further information about mechanical weeding are available on our website (itfbr.org).

The next edition of Desherb’avenir will take place during spring 2023.