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‘Game changer’ for weed seed control (Farm Weekly)

Published in Farm Weekly December 1, 2016

Ken Wilson

THE Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor, which is debuting throughout the Wheatbelt this harvest, is being described as a “game changer”. Twelve destructors are in operation this harvest as national distributor McIntosh & Son oversees the introduction of the unit, invented by Darkan farmer Ray Harrington.

According to McIntosh & Son Katanning, Kulin and Albany branch manager Devon Gilmour, the majority of the units are operating in Great Southern districts with one in Geraldton and another in operation at Wyalkatchem.

“The big number in the Great Southern is purely early customer demand,” Mr Gilmour said.

“We had a limited production run for this harvest and we had customers very eager to adopt this technology.

“We see it as a gamechanger in combatting resistance problems.

“In fact the demand in WA is insatiable due to resistance issues throughout the State.

“I see the destructor as a game changer in controlling weed seeds because while other alternatives are affective, we’re doing it in one pass, so there’s a considerable economic benefit from that point.”

One of those customers was the Browne Farming Co Pty Ltd, Nyabing, where brothers Warrick and Trent kept a watchful eye on two New Holland CR 9.90s, both fitted with the seed destructor.

“It’s a proactive move to control any resistant weed populations that might arise,” Warrick said.

“We haven’t got too many problems at the moment but we don’t want any either.

“Previously we were burning wheat stubbles but now it’s a one pass system with the aim of killing weed seeds in every rotation.

“The headers cut at beer can height so we can get as much (weed seed) into the header as possible and let the destructor do its work.”

According to Warrick the destructor is another tool to use to reduce weed seed populations on the 7000 hectare property. Other strategies include spraying while swathing; maintaining a four year rotation of barley, canola, wheat, pasture; summer spraying and heavy summer grazing, employing the 12,000 Dohne stock.

The Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor is a bolt-on module with two mills replacing existing spinners on the rear of the header. Each mill contains a rota mill which rotates at 3000rpm and a stator mill, which sees weed seeds virtually obliterated as they move through vertical vanes. The mills only collect the chaff containing the weed seeds off the sieves with straw conventionally fed to choppers or spreaders.

Devon said the integrated unit has a factory-fit look.

“It has its own cooling and pump system which are mounted in the engine bay and the mills are driven by two 90cc motors,” he said.

“The cooling system on the header is not affected by this unit and you won’t get any parasitic loss of power running the header.

“They also can be retrofitted.”

Warrick and his brother Trent said they chose the New Holland 9.90 headers because they wanted extra power to handle the seed destructor and the optional Optispread.

“It’s a class nine header rated at 530hp (395kW) and it gives us plenty of power for both mills without compromising the header capacity,” Warrick said.

“You’re probably looking at in excess of 100hp (75kW) using the destructor and the Optispread system.”