2024: Tecfarm WeedHOG. Seed Mill technology with a difference. Now there’s version for smaller or older Harvesters. The WeedHOG Smallboar

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The Tecfarm WeedHOG. Unique ‘Quad Rotor’ design
The Twin Rotor WeedHog Smallboar in action
WeedHOG at work.

  Update: February 2024.

 Tecfarm WeedHOG Seed Mills have successfully operated over five seasons. Early years involved “proof of concept” and engineering trials with the last three being full harvests. Professionally conducted static bed tests were documented over hundreds of hours

During this current period of engaging a licensee/buyer for the design, further valuable experience and confidence has been gained.

 From feedback to date, minimal issues were encountered with units in field during the 2019-23 harvest seasons. Some small engineering issues have been addressed and as with all machinery that is performing a very difficult job, regular maintenance is required.

Some observations include: Correct setup of baffles is important to allow good flow of all crop types. This is especially so for green stemmed canola. Rotor bar wear is still surprisingly low. Most owners have rotated impact bars once. Some owners will replace bars this season after three harvests. No problems were seen with factory designed belt drives. 

WeedHOG has observed ability in handling moist crop conditions.

Tecfarm has now developed a mill that is suited to the smaller harvesters. The low power requirement for this design made it an achievable goal.   February 2024.  A limited production of run of the WeedHOG Smallboar, will be made available for the 2024 harvest. Call soon!

The WeedHOG story:

Beginning the project in 2015, Tecfarm design teams’ goal was to provide a simple and reliable Harvest Weed Seed Control Mill that is affordable for as many farms as possible. The innovative design stands alone in the field of seed milling, quite different from cage mill based units, with a unique mode of action. An exchange of seeds occurs across a gap between two conjoined circular housings, into the path of opposing high speed impact bars. WeedHOGs’ engineering is quite simple, but uses complex interactions of air and material. Much research has been devoted to gaining an understanding of the physics involved.

Development: After initial proof of concept testing over several years, field trials were done at Bruce Rock WA during the 2018 harvest with a ‘Two Rotor’ unit mounted on a Case 9120. In 2019 harvest trials were conducted at Beverley in the Western Australian Central Wheatbelt over an extended period. A pre-production unit operated on a Case 7230 in several crop types. This unit was purchased by the farmer who trialled the machine and has a history over 4 harvests of minimal operational or engineering problems. Harvest test results show a big reduction in Annual Ryegrass germination (the main winter crop weed in Southern Australia) using collected chaff/seeds in replicated 4m2 grow out plots, trays and petri dishes

2019 was a year of intense work on small variations of the principle involved. The prototype trialled during 2018 harvest was studied at length, refined and given higher capacity to match larger harvesters. This was achieved by doubling the effective area within the mill, (the ‘Quad Rotor’ design) adding additional impact points on each rotor to give greater efficiency.

A consistent direct kill out of the mill was obtained, with mounting evidence through research here and overseas as far back as 1958, indicating that complete destruction is not necessary to render seeds unviable after several months exposure in a field environment.  Observations by Tecfarm personnel verified this phenomenon quite early in testing. It has very big implications for how much energy is required for long term weed control using a mill. As well as Wimmera rye grass, larger weed and volunteer crop seeds have practically a total kill. The low power requirement of the WeedHOG means most harvesters are capable of sufficient power and likely not to require aftermarket ‘remapping/chipping’ of engines to obtain a power boost. 

Observations during R & D show that as well as completely destroying a large percentage, the mill damages a high proportion of the remaining 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 Quad Rotor Mill indicated power use at around 40HP (30Kw). Energy is not wasted in 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 seeds escaping a total kill are observed to have almost all suffered damage and if not subject to infield degradation, 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, microbial activity etc. is also something that seems to happen to damaged seed that has had its’ protective coat compromised. This environmental aspect of the effect of seed mills on seed viability has been seen here at Tecfarm and also observed by US researchers. See: https://aces.illinois.edu/news/harrington-seed-destructor-kills-nearly-100-us-agronomic-weed-seeds-lab-study  It means that quite possibly the need for total destruction of seed is not necessary for good control. This has very practical implications for mill design going forward. Attack by soil fauna and pathogens after even minimal damage to seed coats is very beneficial in giving ‘free’ control.

Features of the WeedHOG:

  • Low capital cost
  • Minimal power requirement
  • Good efficacy on common weed species and volunteer crop seeds
  • Open rotor and housing design reduces green material build up and plugging
  • Unique self-centering rotors eliminate expensive specialised balancing
  • Easy maintenance and low cost rotor bar replacement
  • Impact 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 engineering and efficacy tests carried out over four Australian harvests and having carried the project to this point with limited private resources, Tecfarm is willing to discuss a license or sale arrangement with a manufacturing business focussed on Agriculture and having a demonstrated capacity to advance WeedHOG to full potential.

  Contact: Tom Lewis:      0428 611 309    tom@tecfarm.com.au

The WeedHOG Smallboar: designed to suit smaller/lower powered harvesters
WeedHOG now has a rear hitch as standard equipment
Quad Rotor WeedHOG: high capacity open flow- unique and simple
Careful in field testing to establish baseline efficacy figures
Innovative patented design balances milling and material flow with low power requirement
Open day with international researchers

Tecfarm Seed Mills are protected under one or more of the following patents:

Australia: 2016314137 US: US 11,425,865 B2 European Patent Application; 16840407.7