2000 - Volume #24, Issue #2, Page #07[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
"Aquacide" System Kills Weeds Without Chemicals
It's already being done on a smaller scale and it's only a matter of time before you'll be able to do it on the farm.
E.C.O. Systems Inc., Burlington, Ontario, has developed a hot water weed-killing system that's now being used by municipalities and private companies to clear away unwanted vegetation.
Called Aquacide÷, the system heats water to 280 degrees F and then sprays it out under less than 40 psi of pressure through a typical sprayer nozzle.
"What we've developed is similar to flame-type weeders except that it's much safer," says Patrick Kehoe of E.C.O. Systems. "The extreme heat of the water immediately destroys the cellular structure in the vegetation, killing the plant on contact."
Because of the heat, stainless steel or brass nozzles are used. "The weeds need to be within 6 in. of the nozzle in order for it to work, since heat dissipates quickly into the air," Kehoe notes.
Aquacide is being used in a number of different ways. It's used to mark lines on sports fields by killing narrow strips of turf. Cities are using it to control weeds on right-of-ways, around signs and buildings, and in sidewalks and parking lots. Kehoe says a number of organic growers are using it, since it does an excellent job of controlling weeds without chemicals. Most of the growers using it produce higher value crops on small acreages.
One advantage of the system is that it can be used around the house, shop, livestock buildings, or even wells without fear of environmental damage. "And woody plants aren't generally affected by Aquacide, although it will burn their leaves off if they're exposed to the hot water," Kehoe says.
The Aquacide system heats the water on demand. A typical application requires about 2 gal. of water per foot of boom per minute of operation. The smaller the vegetation, the less water is required so the machine can be operated faster.
What that means is, if you went to the field with a 1,000 gal. tank of water and a 40-ft. boom, you'd need 80 gal. of water a minute and your tank would last roughly 12 1/2 minutes. Obviously, the amount of water required may prohibit use for large acreage commercial farmers.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, E.C.O. Systems Inc., 2349 Fairview Street, Suite 323, Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7R 2E3 (ph 905 639-6502; fax 905 681-8925; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www. beaudrygroup.com/eco)
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