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Thermal Steam Weeding



 

indent1STEAM WEEDING OVERVIEW
The current focus on environmental issues and non chemical solutions world wide is beginning to filter through to producers and processors, reflecting changes in consumer attitudes to the use of chemicals for the control of weeds and pests. The world trend to reduce chemical use in agriculture is causing farmers to revert to mechanical weed control and even to hand weeding in some crops.

Here in Australia the soils are very old and do not respond well to the over working of the first few centimetres that occurs when mechanical weeding takes place. Mechanical weeding causes a severe loss of moisture through evaporation which is a problem in areas where water is scarce. For this reason the practice of minimum tillage is gaining in popularity but the problem of weed control remains.

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indent1WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE?

Thermal weed control offers producers an alternative to herbicide chemical treatment and allows minimal tillage methods to be practised without the fear of health risk to the user, contamination of the crop or residues in the soil.

Some of the recognised applications that are currently being worked on for use in:

Lucerne, orchards, vineyards, pre-emergence grain and vegetable crops - these can all be treated using various types of thermal equipment utilising flame and/or steam. Row crops - inter row in virtually all crops where the spacings permit and in some crops with a heat tolerance can include treating between the plants. Irrigation Channel Clearing - with farm channels and drains where, because of their shallowness and frequent emptying they are prone to weed infestation.



indent1HOW DOES THERMAL WEED CONTROL WORK?

Before you start imagining a massive bush fire and controlled burns, we would like to assure you that we are not referring to these methods. The object is not to consume the weed by fire, but to rapidly raise the temperature of the moisture causing the cells of the plant to rupture. You actually boil the moisture in the leaves and that ruptures the cells of the plant. This causes the plant to die from the outside back to the root system. In most cases, if you were to incinerate the plant it would cause it go into shock and to eventually re-shoot from the root system. The heat can be applied by either direct flame or steam.

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indent1BENEFITS OF THERMAL WEED CONTROL

The benefits of Thermal Weed control are numerous and vary from a competitive alternative to chemical use to the added benefit of providing organic farmers with a way to rid their crops of weeds without disturbing the soil thereby minimising erosion and water loss.




 
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