Last Call for Weed Seed Prevention: Equipment Cleanout

The 2022 harvest season is winding down, but your farm equipment might be holding onto something you’d rather leave behind: Weed seeds! Here’s a quick review of equipment cleanout tips from the GROW Weed Prevention Toolkit.


Did you know you can use straw to deep clean your combine? Check out this GROW video and article on The Straw Bale Methodology for Cleaning Weed Seeds Out of a Combine: 

Here are some more tips on combine cleanout from the GROW Toolkit:

  • Know whether the combine entering a field has recently been in a field containing herbicide-resistant or troublesome weeds. If so, take the time needed to clean it. Harvest herbicide-resistant weed-infested fields last.
  • When purchasing a used combine, clean it thoroughly before use.
  • Utilize an air compressor to remove weed seeds from the exposed surfaces of a combine.
  • Clean the rock trap, as weed seeds and debris can be easily caught there.
  • Open access doors to clean the grain auger and tailings processor with an air compressor.


Not only can tillage implements move weed seeds that get caught in mud or plant debris, but they can also distribute certain perennial plant structures called rhizomes or stolons.

These are underground plant growths that allow certain perennial weeds to spread across a field without seeds. Johnsongrass, for example, can spread easily by its underground rhizomes.

Here are some tips on keeping your tillage equipment clean: 

  • Clean any equipment when moving between fields.
  • When using equipment in a field infested with perennial weeds, frequently remove stolons or rhizomes from equipment to prevent spread within a field.
  • Clean any previously owned purchased equipment before use.
  • Ensure contractors clean their equipment before they arrive.
  • Weed seeds can live for a long time hidden in dry mud or plant debris. A powerwasher is an efficient way to clean these off equipment and tires.
  • Compressed air can also be used for dried, loose seeds and plant material.


Don’t forget about your mowers! They may keep ditches and pastures tidy, but they can also move a lot of weed seeds, at any time of year. Keep these GROW toolkit tips in mind: 

  • Mow weed-free areas of a field first and weedy areas last to limit in-field spread.
  • Prevent weed seed spread by cleaning mowers with a leaf blower or compressed air.

Explore the full Weed Seed Prevention Toolkit from GROW here:

Article by Emily Unglesbee, GROW