Can Seed Impact Mills Kill Weed Seeds in Cotton?

Seed impact mills have shown promise as a weed control option in crops like wheat and soybeans. But what about cotton?

A joint research project between Texas A&M and Virginia Tech is tackling that very question! The first step is learning how weed seeds mixed in cotton residues are processed by these mills.

Texas A&M Ph.D. student Sarah Chu is leading the charge to see how harvest weed seed control might work in cotton. (Photo credits: Claudio Rubione & Phillip Chu).

We know that seed impact mills (like the Redekop SCU, Seed Terminator and iHSD) can reliably destroy weed seeds leaving the combine in soybean and wheat chaff residue. But cotton harvesting machinery can produce a very different kind of residue (typically dubbed “trash”). It can range from fairly finely processed cotton gin trash to the bulkier trash coming off a stripper header in the field, which often contains bits of cotton lint. 

Texas A&M Ph.D. student Sarah Chu is doing the dirty work of running samples of cotton trash through the mills, with help from Virginia Tech Ph.D. student Eli Russell. Watch the video below to learn how the research is conducted, and get a preview of the promising preliminary results on seed kill in weeds like Palmer amaranth.

See more GROW news coverage of seed impact mills and harvest weed seed control tactics. 

Video and header photo by Claudio Rubione; lab video footage provided by Phillip and Sarah Chu; text by Emily Unglesbee.