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Research - Evaluating the Weed Master

Small-scale farmers are in great need of scale-appropriate weed management tools.  The Weed Master is an innovative set of cultivation and flame-weeding equipment, designed and built by a team of Finnish small-scale farmers.  Two notable features of this tool represent real innovation in this otherwise vintage implement.  First, using two wheels and a scaled-down toolbar provides lateral stability and adjustment flexibility.  Second, lightweight parallelograms offer precise depth control, and thus the opportunity to optimize soil movement (weed control) and draft or effort required to push the implement.

Our on-farm field evaluations, as well as a replicated comparison with widely-available weeding tools, indicated that efficacy of weed control with the Weed Master was equal to hand weeding, hoeing or using a wheel hoe, but offered dramatically greater working speed which translates directly into dollars saved weeding.  We also explored an innovative mechanism for sharing results through a research blog (see: gallandt.wordpress.com), which, since launching in May 2009, has had 2,111 visitors, with 68 on the busiest day, July 28, 2009, shortly after an article in the MOF&G featuring the demonstration at the Peacemal Farm.  We also developed a new YouTube Channel, “Zeroseedrain” which features our preliminary evaluations of the Weed Master (over 300 views as of February 2010).

A farm worker examines the Weed Master

A farm worker examines the Weed Master

A farmer examines the Weed Master

A farmer examines the Weed Master

 

Farmers using Weed Master

Farmers using Weed Master


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