Interest grows for mechanical weed controls

Alternative weed control options are becoming more attractive to farmers battling herbicide resistance and supply chain challenges.

Sam Oschwald Tilton with the University of Wisconsin Madison tells Brownfield while specialty crop growers have traditionally used mechanical means of weed control, the rise in organic production and growing limitations of some herbicides have created more interest.

“Even conventional growers who have good success with herbicides are having trouble getting them, so whereas you might not be able to get the chemistry that you need, a tool sitting in your shed is always available,” he says.

He says machines today can incorporate camera guidance and link to visual or GPS technology to be more precise.

“You can be within an inch of the row so you can drive a lot faster and you can do more rows at once,” he explains.  “

Oschwald Tilton also recommends working with a group of farmers to rent different implements like a tool library to help offset some costs.

Brownfield interviewed Oschwald Tilton during the Midwest Mechanical Weed Control Field Day Wednesday.

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