Here's the abstract from the Weed Research Paper below.
A machine was built to kill reproductive plants ('bolters') in sugar beet by
high-voltage electricity. A generating system producing 10, 13 or 17 kV each
at 54 kW was connected to a set of guarded electrodes spanning twelve rows,
suspended 5-15 cm above the top of a sugar-beet crop. With 13 kV the system
travelling at 5 km h-1 could clear a light-to-moderate infestation of bolters
at a rate of 2.4 ha h-1 with the tractor's diesel-fuel consumption at 3.51 l
ha-1. In 1979, the electrothermal machine, used twice reduced viable seed
returns by 83%; the flail mower used once or twice by 44 and 76-84%; the wire
reel mower used once or twice by 45 and 80-87%; and the roller chemical
applicator used once by only 13%. Further trials were made in 1981 with an
improved electrothermal machine, a rope wick applicator and a flail mower when
all gave over 90% control of viable seeds. The electrothermal machine killed
between 38 and 41% of bolters compared with 65% for the chemical applicator.
The flail mower did not kill any plants.
Although possessing many advantages, the electrothermal machines are heavy and
more expensive than alternative methods. Development has ceased in the UK on
electrical weed control.
>I think it is a good idea, although it could demand quite a bit of power.
>As a possible refinement, might high frequency or pulses work better than
>DC? It would be fun to try this, pleasantly dangerous. Any
>electrically-minded people on the Sanet?
>I turned up these papers on Agricola, but they didn't have abstracts.
>AU: Vigneault,-C.; Benoit,-D.L.; Mclaughlin,-N.B.
>TI: Energy aspects of weed electrocution.
>SO: Rev-Weed-Sci. Champaign, Ill. : Weed Science Society of America.
>1990. v. 5 p. 15-26.
>AU: Diprose,-M.F.; Fletcher,-R.; Longden,-P.C.; Champion,-M.J.
>TI: Use of electricity to control bolters in sugar beet (Beta vulgaris
>L.): a comparison of the electrothermal with chemical and mechanical cutting
>SO: Weed-Res. Oxford : Blackwell Scientific Publications. Feb 1985. v.
>25 (1) p. 53-60.
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