January 2020: Harvest trials of the Tecfarm Seed Mill have been successfully completed over two seasons in two variants, as well as extensive static bed tests over hundreds of hours and nearly five years since initial concept and patenting.
The Tecfarm design team goal is to provide an easily serviced and reliable Harvest Weed Seed Control unit that is affordable for as many farms as possible. The Tecfarm design stands alone. Its engineering is quite simple, but there are complex interactions of air and material, so gaining knowledge has taken time and much research.
Current state of development: After limited field trials during the 2018 harvest and many hours of test bed work, 2019 harvest trials were conducted in the Western Australian Central Wheatbelt over an extended period, with a pre-production unit operating on a Case 7230 in several crop types. 2018 harvest results showed a big reduction in ryegrass germinations using large grow out plots and petri dishes as well as field counts at a consistent 80%. Early counts from 2019 harvest samples are giving similar figures and at higher harvest capacity. Larger weed seeds and volunteer crop seeds have practically a total kill.
2019 was a year of intense work on small variations of the principle involved. The advanced prototype trialed during 2018 harvest was studied at length, refined and given higher capacity. This was achieved by doubling the effective area within the mill, the “Quad Rotor” design and adding additional impact points on each rotor to give greater efficiency.
Tecfarm is also aiming to providing a mill that is suited to the smaller harvesters as soon as practicable. The low power requirement observed with this design makes it an achievable goal.
It has been observed during R & D that as well as completely destroying a large percentage, the mill fragments and damages a proportion of the seeds. Chaff material tends to be left somewhat intact with a low amount of very fine material. This may be a reason for the units’ observed low power requirement. The 2019 Quad Rotor Mill indicated power use at a maximum of around 50HP (37Kw). Energy is not wasted by making a high proportion of dusty, fine particles.
A major reason for the persistence of annual ryegrass in cropland is its tendency for high levels of dormant seed preventing full germination in any one generation. After passing through this mill the small number of ryegrass seeds escaping a total kill appear to have their natural high level of dormancy broken, a trait that is useful to allow spraying out early in the cropping season. Attack by soil borne fungi etc. is also something that seems to happen to damaged seed.
Features of the Tecfarm Weed Mill:
- Low capital cost
- Simple fitting on farm
- Good efficacy on common weed species and volunteer crop seeds
- Unique self-centering rotor design eliminates expensive professional balancing
- Easy maintenance and low cost rotor bar replacement
- Rotor bars are rotatable to maximise service life
- Bar sets can be added or removed to suit field/crop conditions and power availability
- Simple changeover to windrow mode
- Integral Bolt Traps
The future: With successful engineering and efficacy tests carried out during 2018 and 2019 harvest, commercial release of a limited number of units in Western Australia is planned for early 2020.
Give us a call anytime if you would like to have a chat. Tom: 0428 611 309. Matt: 0447 180 958.
The Tecfarm weed mill is protected under one or more of the following patents: Provisional patent application 2015903508. International patent application PCT/AU2016/050802. National patent applications USA PCT/AU2016/050802 // Australia No.2016314137. European Union No.P20150710 // Canada PCT/AU2016/050802