Using light to destroy weed seeds from the back of the combine

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

The war on weeds is an ongoing battle for growers. With challenges and changes across the industry, including the advent of herbicide resistant weed, growers are looking for tools to add to their arsenal against weeds.

Jon Jackson, president at Global Neighbor Inc, says the company’s weed seed destroyer offers weed control at harvest on the back of the combine.

The weed seed destroyer is an implement that takes the output from a combine, at the sieve section, and treats it with light to destroy weed seeds. The seed destroyer uses mid-infrared (mid-IR) wavelengths to treat the seed first and then applies blue light to damage the seed.

The seed destroyer attaches at the rear of the combine. Jackson says they use baffles to direct chaff from the sieve system into the seed destroyer’s hopper. From the hopper it is run through an auger into the light system then blown back up into the chopper and out to the field. (story continues below video) 

The seed destroyer treats seed at the rate that chaff is produced by the combine. Jackson says the system has been tested on common weed seeds in wheat, soybeans and rice throughout the United States. They are seeing above 90 per cent control of cereal weed seeds and an 80 to 85 per cent control of the tougher weed seeds. They have had challenges with controlling volunteer wheat and pulses.

They are prototyping the weed seed destroyer and are looking to have commercial production next year. Jackson says the next phase of prototyping will see testing done on more crops, such as canola, and testing with Canadian growers to target issues across the market.

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