Flame-throwing tractors for organic weed control

Flame-throwing tractors for organic weed control

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Organic farming uses flamethrower tractors to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides.

The use of fire to control weeds in organic farming systems is a promising method of reducing weed populations without the use of herbicides.

A carefully directed flame fueled by natural gas or liquid propane (LP) raises the temperature within the weed, causing cells to break down and effectively kill weeds while causing little damage to the crop.

Flames disrupt weed growth through heat, so it is important to burn when plants are dry (no dew) and wind speed and direction are favorable. Both moisture and wind can reduce flame heat, reducing the effectiveness of flame application (Mutch et al., 2005).

Weeds are most susceptible to the heat of flames when they are 1 to 2 inches tall or at the three to five leaf stage (Sullivan, 2001). Broadleaf weeds are more susceptible to flames than grasses such as foxtail.

Exposing a weed seedling to flame for 1/10 of a second (Row Crop, 2007) is usually sufficient to ensure control, although this may vary depending on the type and size of the weed. Smaller, more sensitive plants are more susceptible to heat than larger, more mature plants. Applying the flame when crop plants are larger than weeds provides optimal control. After effective flame application, grass blades appear dull, and it is easy to press a visible fingerprint onto the blade surface.

Advantages of flamethrower tractors in organic farming

Its main advantage is that weeds are destroyed down to the roots. As the flames destroy the cell structure within the leaves and prevent them from growing further, the roots will eventually die because they will not get the necessary help from the sun.

Another advantage is that this process is that it is quite fast. Even the largest weeds can be eliminated within a few days.

Environmental care

This process can replace the use of pesticides and herbicides

Pesticides and herbicides, while useful in ridding crops of insects and weeds, can also be harmful to the crops themselves and, consequently, to those who consume them. With the flamethrower tractor method, the crops are completely free of these harmful substances.

With information from:

Video: IN FOCUS: Flame Weeding (May 2022).