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Lightning Weeder: Kills Weeds With Electricity
"We think it's one of the biggest breakthroughs in weed control to come along in years."
So said Melvin Dykes, president of Lasco Inc. 4 years ago when FARM SHOW first reported on the company's new experimental machine for killing tall growing weeds with high voltage electricity.
Now, after 4 years of extensive field testing, the company has its Lightning Weeder LW5 in production and ready to sell to any and all farmers interested in controlling tall growing weeds without chemicals, and without the drift, residue and other problems associated with chemical control of tall growing weeds.
"We had 35 machines in the field last year. They performed with flying colors in a wide variety of field crops and condition," Dykes told FARM SHOW.
Here, according to Dykes, is how the new weed "electrocuter" works.
"It kills weeds on contact by forcing the electrolytic solution within the plant's vascular system to conduct electrical current. The effect of the machine is swift. In fact, you may see some succulent weeds explode on contact with the boom," explains Dykes. "The current is so strong that it immediately evaporates the water in the plant, thus rupturing cell walls within the plant, causing it to wilt and die."
The Lightning Weeder is available in a standard, rear-mounted "wingfold" model that takes a 23 ft.wide swath. It requires a tractor capable of developing a minimum of 125 pto hp. at normal operating speed. Field travel is generally in the range of 4 to 6 mph.
Several safety interlocks, incorporated into the high voltage machine, must all be satisfied to make it operate. For example, the machine won't run if the operator isn't in the seat, if the machine loses its electrical ground connection, or its forward motion. "These patented safety features, along with operator training and supervision, help insure safety for both operator and bystanders. We've never had a bad experience with electric shock, nor have we ever had a problem with dry crops catching fire in the field."
When you're not controlling weeds with the Lightning Weeder, it serves as a dependable standby source of electric power. It produces both 120V and 240V single-phase power to run most any electrical equipment you might have. This handy feature lets you use power equipment, including your welder, for repairing in the field.
"We think a lot of owners will pay for the Lightning Weeder in a short time doing custom work to remove volunteer corn in soybeans," says Dykes. Sells for $20,500.
For more details, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lasco Inc., Route 6, Box 59C, Vicksburg, Miss. 39180 (ph 601 638-8001).

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1981 - Volume #5, Issue #2