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Soil Steam has created the world’s first device for killing weeds with steam. It lets farmers improve harvests and storage time using less pesticide and fertiliser.
Industrial farming across the world uses large amounts of pesticides to stay productive and avoid food waste.
This trade-off between risk and reward for pesticides and productive agriculture creates huge challenges for farmers and communities.
Soil Steam International has developed a patented technology which makes it possible to steam soil in open fields. The method kills 95 per cent of all fungi, weed, seeds and nematodes in the soil, without the need for pesticides.
Soil Steam International is the first company in the world to operationalise the technology for efficient use down to soil depths of 30 cm. A single treatment is effective enough to last for up to five years.
Soil Steam’s technology is based on more than 20 years of research, development and testing. The company’s machines can cover between 600 and 1 500 square metres of farmland per hour, depending on the temperature and moisture of the soil.
Killing weeds with steam not only reduces the need for pesticides. It also reduces the need for fertilisers, since crops absorb much higher levels of nutrients from the soil once weeds are removed.
An added benefit of soil steaming is increased storage time for many vegetables. The steaming process kills fungi in the soil – a major reason for vegetables rotting in stock.
On top of that, soil steaming can increase harvests by up to 40 per cent.
Researchers at the University of California at Davis have dubbed Soil Steam’s technology a “gamechanger”. The treatment is particularly effective for berries, fruit, vegetables and flowers.
Commercial production of Soil Steam’s machines will begin in 2020.
Method for using steam, instead of pesticides, to kill weeds
Kills 95% of all fungi, weeds and nematodes in soil
Improves harvest and increases storage time