Category Archives: super weeds

3 Picks: Canadian Surplus, UK Surplus, Amaranth Superweed

Below, are today’s three chosen agricultural-related news picks.

1) Canadian Prairie Crops Bursting at the seams this Season: By Jennifer Graham. “the highest all-wheat yield in the last 10 years was about 42 bushels per acre and this year it is expected to be about 49 bushels per acre. … Mr. Townsend said estimates are that the six major grains in Western Canada – wheat, oats, barley, rye, flax and canola – could produce 61.4 million tonnes this year. The previous nine-year average was about 47.7 million tonnes…”

2) Surplus Grains in the UK: “It is not just milling wheat which the UK (unlike most other countries) faces a surplus of. In oats too, the country has an unusually large surplus which is confronting farmers, and traders, with what Robert Leachman, oats trader at Gleadell, says is a ‘serious situation’ on how to find homes for the grain…”

3) Palmer Amaranth Super-weeds: By Kurt Lawton. “Before you run that combine through every acre of your fields, I’d highly recommend reading “Resistant Palmer amaranth hits the Midwest.” This weed is a game changer, and if left unchecked without multiple herbicide modes of control, you can literally lose a field in three years’ time.”

BONUS: Carole King — A Natural Woman’s Idaho property is for sale. (Photo above.)

This news post was written and compiled by K. McDonald.

Is Mechanical Flame Weeding for Crops Growing in Popularity?

Flame weeding using propane is a USDA approved organic weed removal method. It affords an opportunity for organic farmers to save time and money in their weed removal efforts. Furthermore, propane prices are currently reasonable, as shown by the following ten-year price graph.

There are a wide range of human and tractor powered flame-weeder models, many hand-built by the farmer. Individual propane tanks with hand held wands are quite common, as are human powered push carts which can be wider and span rows.

The flame weeder is used for pre-emergent and post-emergent weeding. It is particularly useful for small crops which are slow to germinate, like carrots and onions. Since it avoids cultivation, it is a no-till method of weed control.

Red Dragon is one company which has designed commercial equipment for industrial thermal weeding. This method uses an average of five gallons of propane per acre, or about half the cost of herbicide application.

Row crop flame weeding was used back in the 1930s, using kerosene. Research using the method has been done on 30 to 40 different crops, with good results. The goal is to rupture the weed plant cell walls, something that can be accomplished in one-tenth of a second with exposure to flame. The gas pressure and ground speed are used to control the heat exposure. It is most successful in use against small broadleaf weeds two-inches tall or at the 3-leaf stage. It works well on morning glories or bindweed. Flame weed control is less successful on grasses and perennial weeds. If necessary, repeat flaming three to five days apart is better than a one time heavy flaming.

The University of Nebraska is undergoing testing using mechanical flamers, and is hinting at a possible growing interest among conventional crop producers due to RoundUp weed resistance. They are working with manufacturers to make four-, six-, eight-, 10- and 12-row units.

Safety is important when using flame weed control. The method should be used on a dry day, but not in extreme dry conditions.

You may also want to check out this video of a tractor mounted flame weeder working a field of carrots.