The upcoming Crops and Cover Crop Cultivations open day will feature a second live demonstration focused on mechanical weeding solutions for the field vegetable sector. With the increasing challenges associated with herbicides, such as resistance and withdrawal of key products, there is a growing demand for non-chemical weed management tools in the sustainable production of outdoor field vegetables. By adopting mechanical weeding techniques, growers not only address these issues but also promote healthier and more resilient soils, cleaner water, and the preservation of valuable biodiversity.
This event, hosted by the Teagasc horticulture team and the Irish Farmers Journal, offers a unique opportunity to witness first-hand the latest weeding technologies, with two live demonstrations focusing on commercially grown crops like carrots and brassicas.
The demonstrations will test 17 different machines including the latest hoes and tine weeders as well as SMART weeding technology, including robotic and camera-guided systems.
Examples of brush weeders, finger weeders and wheel hoes will also be featured as part of this event, which should be of particular interest to conventional and organic field vegetable growers, whether small, medium, or large. Below are a selection of weeders taking part in the demonstration.
The Steketee EC-Weeder is a versatile tool suitable for row-crop cultivation in various crops. It offers customisable working widths of up to 17 metres and can operate at feasible driving speeds of up to 15km/h.
This model is equipped with advanced features such as the IC-Light automatic camera steering system and the EC-Steer parallel sliding frame. The EC-Weeder can be precisely guided and steered independently of the tractor’s movements, ensuring accurate navigation between the rows.
It incorporates both L-blades and A-blades on a vibroholder, as well as a finger weeder, further enhancing its weed control capabilities.
Visiting from Holland, Treffler specialises in precision harrows. Its tine harrows contour fields, following their individual courses without deviation. With over 30 models, these harrows are versatile, suitable for a range of crops including vegetables, cereals, flowers, nursery trees and hedging.
EFM inter-row cultivator
Edwards Farm Machinery (EFM) are visiting from Worcestershire, UK, to demo their in-house manufactured inter-row cultivator. This machine is available in a range of working widths and tine configurations from single bed rear non-steered up to the 8m camera-guided machine.
Individual cultivator units are free to move independently to maintain an accurate working depth across the full width of the machine. The spring-tines come with optional A and L blades as well as standard cultivator points of varying widths. It can be supplemented with finger weeders to get between the plants and finger-rakes to level the work and ensure weeds are pulled to the top for the best kill and wilt results.
Chopstar Verso and Aerostar Exact
Swiss manufacturer Einböck, with agent PJ Calla, Ardee, Louth, will demonstrate two mechanical weeding machines at the event. The Aerostar Exact is a precision tine weeder for vegetable and arable crops with adaptable depth control and tine adjustment.
The Chopstar row hoe offers manual hydraulic or automated camera-guided steering, with various hoeing tool attachments for weed control in different crops. Brassica crops will be the focus during the demonstration.
The event will feature two mechanical weed control demonstrations. The main demonstration, which lasts 1.5 hours, will begin at 9am and is specifically designed to cater to growers and individuals with a keen interest in specialised equipment and machinery. A shorter one-hour demonstration will take place at 2.30pm.