It may seem an unlikely prospect at this time of year, with its rain, snow and sub zero temperatures, but spring will soon be upon us.
With warmer temperatures and lengthening hours, crops will spring into life and suddenly undergo a growth spurt. Unfortunately, what’s true for crops is also true for weeds. But there’s plenty of time to get on top of weeds and volunteers before crops are too advanced. And the control methods are not limited to agrochemicals and herbicides – which is increasingly important as weed resistance increases.
An inter-row hoe is a very effective mechanical weeding tool which is used in organic farming and is becoming increasingly popular with conventional farming. Hoeing is an operation which should be carried out when the soil is dry and firm enough to support the weight of machinery, without creating damaging wheelings, but not so hard that the hoe blades can’t penetrate beneath the crown of the weed.
On farms that drill early, crops may be sufficiently well developed in the autumn to start hoeing; in the spring the operation can continue up to the stage where the crop might be compromised by further passes.
Removing weeds and volunteers – blackgrass, brome, other grass and broadleaf weeds – between the seeded rows gives crops a boost with an increase in light and air and a reduction in competition for nutrients and moisture.
Mechanical weeding equipment such as the inter-row hoe will have sharp, strong blades and will be depth-set to slice under the crown of the weed to eliminate the chance of regrowth.
Several passes of an inter-row hoe will be beneficial to crop yields and will drastically lower the potential for seed carry-over to the next season and for resistant weed types to develop.
The weeder is available in working widths from 3m-8m. It has a low operating cost and comes with a choice of blade sizes: 125, 150, 175 and 200mm. Designed for use on any tractor with a Cat II front linkage, the TerraBlade has a working speed of approximately 6 km/h and up to 30mm deep. It is manually steered and can be used whenever soil conditions allow, covering up to 30ha a day with a 6m unit.
For more TerraBlade information visit https://claydondrill.com/terrablade/