Weed Mill Development in 2019

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Tecfarm is primarily a design engineering company, outsourcing all manufacturing to a respected fabrication business.

This allows us to spend more time progressing ideas for new or improved methods of non chemical weed control.

Tecfarm Weed Mill

Four years after registering patent applications a novel design for eliminating weed seeds exiting a harvester is progressing and is now our main research and development focus. There are many hurdles involved in producing a cost effective, reliable unit suited to larger harvesters and all conditions so it has been quite a journey. The Tecfarm design is unique. It is simple in its concept, but has complex interactions of air and material so gaining knowledge takes time. 

Current state of development: During 2018 harvest, one prototype Seed Mill was fitted to a Case 9120 combine for limited field trials. Results in a wheat crop that contained very high Annual Ryegrass numbers (25% of the chaff by weight) were very encouraging, with a reduction in ryegrass germinations in large plots and petri dish as well as field counts of around 80% and of wheat seeds, almost a total kill.

2019 so far has been a year of intense work on small variations of the principle involved. The advanced prototype used for field trials was displayed at the recent Dowerin Field Days in Western Australia with a very encouraging response.

A feature that is emerging from the R & D is that the mills’ method tends to fragment seeds and chaff material rather than producing a large amount of fines, so does not generate excessive dust, an operational advantage regarding combine cleanliness and reduced fire risk. Although not yet adequately proven, this trait may mean low combine power required as energy is not wasted reducing material to dust or fine particles.

A major reason for the persistence of annual ryegrass in cropland is its tendency for high levels of dormant seed preventing germination in any one generation. After passing through this mill 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.

The main aim now is to further develop the mill during the 2019 harvest with a focus on capacity in varying crops and conditions. It is hoped that limited commercial production will begin in early 2020.

Tecfarm Chaff Carts

Chaff carts have been our main focus for around ten years with the Smartcart range proving to be Australias’ most popular machine for collection of harvest residue, with units numbering in the 100’s operating in four states.

CT Carts

After two years of development, the Controlled Traffic CT cart is now available and is well suited to all harvester sizes and perfect for either CT or conventional farms. The Chaff Cart concept is still popular with mixed farming operations, giving dual benefits of weed control as well as livestock feed for the lean times. A great combination.