Farmer Forum Recap: Americans talk Harvest Weed Seed Control with international experts

Video and article by Claudio Rubione, GROW

One advantage of meeting virtually is that people in different countries can gather and talk without traveling and spending  lots of money and time. This is why GROW proposed a series of Farmer Forums of American and Australian farmers with technical people in the weed seed destructor industry from Australia and Canada. The aim of these meetings is to transfer to US farmers and weed scientists the experience Australian farmers have in using harvest weed seed control (HWSC) methods, more specifically, weed seed destructors, also known as seed impact mills.

In the second Farmer Forum, held on August 9, 2022, American farmers experiencing their first steps on HWSC technology asked many questions to get the best information possible for the challenging learning curve  of the upcoming summer harvesting season.

One of the main topics discussed was combine setup. Since wheat is the  most common crop in Australia versus corn and soybeans for Americans, it is highly probable that many combine settings should be adjusted to get the best results in these two crops.

Growers from Australia, Cam Taylor and Peter Glover, shared their years of harvest weed seed control experience with the Americans, noting that they have started with windrow burning, then switched to chaff lining and finally jumped into the weed seed destructor technology. As novel mill users, they discovered that harvesting wheat had different issues and required different combine settings compared to lentils or even canola, the latter of which caused plugging when stems are green. But, for the three mentioned crops, both farmers agreed that to control weeds it’s all about capturing as much weed biomass as possible through the header. Some other concerns they have are about the extra diesel these units consume and that running the mills in very dry environmental conditions could ignite fire from the fine chaff these mills produce. 

On the American side, Brad Ashby, about to run a Redekop SCU for a second season in Eastern Virginia, mentioned he had some plugging issues while harvesting in the fall, when moisture was rising in the afternoon. He also pointed out that the harvested soybeans weren’t as clean afterward, but an experienced South African farmer, Kassie Van der Westhuizen, said that he solved this problem and a similar one when harvesting frozen crops, by using desiccants. He added that the airflow changes when using these kinds of units, suggesting that users might now have to play around with different fan settings and rotor speeds to counteract this issue.

These American growers are doing their best as the first farmers to learn and adapt the weed seed destructor technology in the U.S. Learning is a necessary step when developing a new technology. It’ll take some time to fine-tune and expand adoption to new users. In this learning process, it’s key to rely on those who have had previous experience as well as learn from the experience of new adopters , as this forum shows. 

To learn more about this Farmer Forum, watch this video: 

See more on harvest weed seed control methods from GROW here: