Designed in northern Italy by the company Caffini, the water powered Grass Killer, was spotted weeding grape vines in Valais Switzerland, by the newspaper 20 Minutes. Swiss grape growers have been testing the invention for the last three years.
According to Caffini, the Grass Killer hits weeds with water sprayed at a pressure of 1,000 bar – a typical kitchen tap runs at 3 bar.
The machine, which can be used instead of chemical herbicides, can be seen in action in the video above. 1 litre of water is needed to weed 5 metres of vines.
Pierre-André Roduit, head of the Valais viticulture office, told the newspaper that finding ways to avoid using chemicals is a trend among the region’s wine growers. More than 10% of the canton’s grapes are grown without herbicides. The trend is partly driven by consumers.
The Grass Killer isn’t cheap. At around CHF 50,000 it costs 10 times as much as a herbicide sprayer. On the other hand, water costs less than chemical sprays. And, the long term benefits to the environment and human health need to be added in.