Harrington Seed Destructor
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- [Narrator] Harvest Weed Seed Control is a method that comes into play when problem weeds escape in-season control and then survive and produce seed by the time the cash crop is harvested.
It's a way to destroy the seed so they can't germinate next year.
We're hoping that Harvest Weed Seed Control can help control weeds like Palmer amaranth and waterhemp that commonly escape into the late season and drop millions of seeds.
To achieve Harvest Weed Seed Control, we're testing a machine called the Harrington Seed Destructor.
The HSD is of cage mill that drags behind the combine during harvest.
It takes in the chaff ejected from the combine which contains the seeds from those escaped weeds.
It then grinds those seeds down to the point where they're pulverized and are not able to germinate next year, then it ejects them into a thin powder back on to the field.
This equipment was developed in Australia, and is manufactured there.
It's used mainly in Australia for small grain crops to control multiple herbicide-resistant annual rye grass.
In Illinois, it's being tested on several problem weeds, including pigweeds, and they've found that it pulverized between 95 to 99% of the pigweed seeds that enter the cage mill.
Still, this excess of the HSD for our weeds of concern in the US and in our cropping systems depends on another factor as well.
In order for the weed seeds to be destroyed by the HSD, they must still be on the plants at the time of harvest and not dropped already.
In other words, weeds that retain their seeds later into the fall may be better suited for control by the HSD.
Researchers at 14 universities around the country are currently doing studies in soybean fields to see when the most problematic weeds drop their seeds in relation to harvest time.
While the pulverized seeds are ejected out the back of the HSD, the large chaff portion is ejected at a controlled angle towards the ground.
The angle at which it's ejected can easily be adjusted by adjusting the angle of these flaps.
While this original design is large, and comes in a relatively high price tag, the manufacturer has now released a new, lighter option that comes in at about one-third of the price of the original.
The IHSD, or Integrated HSD, is installed into the rear of the combine itself through a retrofitting kit.
This model is currently available on the market and is designed to function just the same as the original.
With further testing, we hope that Harvest Weed Seed Control can be a valuable method for helping to manage persistent, herbicide-resistant weed populations that we face in the United States.