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Early Weed Control Without Chemicals
Latest new way to control weeds without chemicals is the gas-fired "Herbigaz" developed in Holland.
For row crops, rectangular shaped ovens kill weeds between the rows by cooking them to death. Lp-gas fires catalytic burners inside each oven, giving off infrared heat which heats the area under each oven to 900?C. Although extremely hot on the inside, the ovens are heavily insulated so as not to burn crop stems and leaves that rub against the outside of each oven as the weed "cooker" moves through row crops. The ovens can be ganged side by side for broadcast control of weeds, in pastures, lawns and so forth.
"Growing weeds are about 55% water. Intense heat inside the ovens causes the plants to explode and die," explains Lesly Callard, export secretary for the French firm distributing the Herbigaz. "Previous attempts to control weeds with direct flame burners have generally been unsuccessful because of the inability to control heat output. Also, previous flame cultivators were slow and tooka lot of fuel. This new oven concept overcomes these shortcomings. Heat can be controlled and the concept uses considerably less fuel," Callard points out.
She notes that heat from the oven is intense enough to kill weed seeds and insects in the top 1 1/2 in. layer of soil. Consequently, the treated area stays clean and free of weeds for relatively long periods of time.
"The new weed-cooking concept is aimed primarily at early season weed control in vegetable and other specialty crops. For organic farming, we think it has wide application in virtually all crops whether grown in rows or broadcast. It's also ideal for controlling weeds in areas where chemicals have been banned" says Collard.
She notes that the machine has to operate at a relatively slow field speed (3 km/hr.) to allow sufficient "cooking" time for weeds to be exploded and killed.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Cerimon, Moncoutant, Deux Sevres, France.

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #3