Band heating for intra-row weed control
Weeds are a major obstacle to an increase in organic cropping of row crops, such as outdoor vegetables or maize. Vegetables are considered high value crops that might improve the income of the growers, provided that they can manage to cultivate larger areas. This project aims at the development of a new integrated machinery system, where the soil is being thermally treated in a narrow band around the crop rows. With this treatment the germination of weeds in between the crops can be effectively limited.
The process of thermal treatment of the soil as a part of the seedbed preparation is well known. Steaming of the topsoil will have a clear impact on the weed germination, but the system has a high energy consumption, which will cause environmental and economical problems. It is a new idea to perform the treatment in bands. Band treatment of soil in combination with precision sowing will cause crops to germinate and grow up uniformly in bands of dark soil. The crops will stand out clearly against the background and conditions for video-based recognition of the row structure will be very good.
Weed control of inter-row weeds is achieved by means of precision hoeing, where the implement is automatically guided by a vision sensor based control system, which is basically developed in the project and commercialised by the firm ECO-DAN. The possibility of combining the implement for thermal treatment with a system for precision sowing will be analysed.
In combination with the automatic hoeing system the proposed system for thermal row treatment will provide effective elimination of the need for manual weeding in row cultivated crops, such as beets and vegetables. The recommended system will enable the farmers and the agricultural industry to meet the customers’ demand for growing organic products.
I.9 Band heating for intra-row weed control (BANHEAT)
Martin Heide Jørgensen, Head of research unit
Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Agricultural Engineering
Phone: +45 76 29 60 27, Fax: +45 76 29 61 00
Erik Fløjgaard Kristensen, Bo Melander and Torben Heisel, DIAS
Hans W. Griepentrog, KVL