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Self-Propelled Rig Wipes Out Roundup-Resistant Weeds
Before Roundup-ready crops, self-propelled weed wipers were widely used to take volunteer corn – and other tall-growing weeds – out of beans. Now, thanks to Roundup-resistant weeds, it looks like weed-wiping machines are back.
  We spotted this high-clearance rig at the recent Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga. The “Lee Spider” is equipped with a 30-ft. Smucker sponge wiper mounted on a toolbar.
  “It’s a small, lightweight, versatile machine that works great and does a cost effective job of controlling weeds in row crops,” says Lynn Lee, LeeAgra, Inc., Lubbock, Texas. “It’s powered by a small 20 hp Kohler engine so it doesn’t use much fuel.
  “The basic machine sells for $20,000 to $25,000. It’s much smaller than most other high clearance, self-propelled sprayers where even used ones sell for $40,000 to $50,000, and new ones for well over $100,000.”
  According to Lee, the Spider has a long history. “It was first built in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and designed so that 3 people sat in front, each holding a spray wand. Farmers at that time didn’t want to use their larger horsepower tractors just to spot spray weeds in cotton, soybeans and other row crops.  
  “When Roundup-ready herbicide came along in the late 1990’s, farmers were able to broadcast Roundup over the entire crop, and that eliminated the need for spot spraying. However, a few years ago pigweed and other weeds began showing resistance to Roundup. Some farmers have been forced to switch to cultivation, but some weeds always escape and come up above the crop as it matures. A smaller, narrow-wheeled machine like ours can get through the crop without damaging it. The sprayer is also widely used in blueberries, vineyards, nurseries and orchard crops as well as chemical company research plots. “The machine’s tall narrow wheels are able to straddle rows of 6-ft. tall blueberry bushes. If you want you can hang hooded sprayers from each side to control weeds,” says Lee.
  The Smucker wiper comes in sections that can easily be replaced, without having to replace the entire boom. “We use the Smucker sponge because it doesn’t drip or leak and makes excellent contact with weeds,” notes Lee.  
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, LeeAgra, Inc., 1309 E. 50th St., Lubbock, Texas 79404 (ph 800 825-3346; lynn@leeagra.com; www.LeeAgra.com).  

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #6