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Weed Seed Destruction latest move in ‘Horses for Courses’ Weed Control

Originally published in Australian AgContractor Magazine November/December 2021 Edition

McIntosh & Son

Weed management in a full-time cropping operation has been a constant journey for the Taylors near Horsham in Victoria and their latest move has involved harvester-integrated weed seed control, however, they will continue to adopt a ‘horses for courses’ approach depending on crop type and weed populations.

Peter Taylor and his son Charlie, together with Peter’s brother Ian and his sons Cameron and Zac, crop 4000 hectares of wheat, barley, canola, faba beans, lentils, oaten hay, and vetch hay at their Mayo Park Farms property in the Lubeck area near Horsham.

Like for many growers, ryegrass is the major target for the Taylors and they are managing some populations with resistance to glyphosate as well as Group A and B herbicides. Wild oats also are a factor in various areas.

Prior to adding harvester-integrated weed seed control to their armoury via the installation of the new vertical, mechanical Harrington Seed Destructor (iHSD) on both of their Case IH 7240 headers by O’Connors at Horsham, the Taylors were windrow burning and also had undertaken chaff lining to help limit weed seed numbers.

Peter expects windrow burning may continue to be employed for particularly “dirty” weed paddocks and after crops where the Seed Destructor may not be used.

During the season, the family applies the full suite of herbicides, including under the cutterbar when windrowing canola and for desiccation of lentil and faba bean crops.

The falling over of ryegrass weeds among crop rows also could prompt further windrowing of barley and wheat crops, as well as a change to narrower tine spacings at seeding.

The Taylor’s seeding machinery is currently set on 30-centimetre (12-inch) spacings.

“Narrower spacing is about the only lever we haven’t pulled, so we may come back a bit with it,” Peter said.

He said the simple belt drive with the latest Seed Destructor was one of its key features and allowed just a 20-minute job to revert to windrowing.

“With other similar systems, you have to pull the machines right off.”

Charlie said O’Connors partnership with Case IH and link with the Seed Destructor made for a logical decision and the exclusive vertical mill design importantly allayed any concerns over bridging.

McIntosh & Son

Charlie Taylor, whose family farms near Horsham in Victoria, with one of the new vertical, mechanical Harrington Seed Destructor (iHSD) units that are fitted to their Case IH 7240 harvesters. Charlie says the exclusive vertical mill design importantly means there are no problems with bridging and blocking up the back of the header, which can occur with horizontal mills.

“There are no problems with bridging and blocking up the back of the header, which can occur with horizontal mills and also can happen when chaff lining or windrowing,” Charlie said.

Peter said whether chaff lining or now using the seed destructor, harvester set-up was critical and he said he believed the maximum horsepower provided by the Case IH 7240 headers was a “good match” to run the Destructor at 3000 RPM and maintain mill capacity.

“With the horsepower we had, we weren’t limiting our capacity.”

Charlie said the key with header set-up was preventing rotor loss and, hence, material going over the sieves and outside the mills.

“We used the mill speed to understand what was going on with the header. Once you got used to them, you knew when you were overloading the sieves.”

He said they also were happy with the wearability of the Seed Destructor mills, achieving about 570 rotor hours before changeover for the last third of their second harvest.

“We probably took them out a bit early. We would be confident in them lasting to around the 600-hour mark.”

Peter said under the correct header set-up, they were confident in the performance of the Seed Destructor and were very pleased with its results.

Invented by Western Australian grower Ray Harrington and independently shown to kill up to 99 percent of weed seeds, the Seed Destructor is designed and manufactured by de Bruin Engineering and distributed nationally by McIntosh Distribution. The core mill technology was developed by UniSA with funding and support from GRDC.

In addition to Case IH harvesters, the system can be fitted to later model John Deere, New Holland and Claas headers, with no permanent modifications required.

Growers interested in further information about the vertical, mechanical Harrington Seed Destructor can contact their local dealer.