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And then there were three – impact mills on the market

Crop residue management is core business for Canadian company Redekop Manufacturing and now they have added harvest weed seed control to their offering to Australian grain growers.

Redekop have recently commercialised the Seed Control Unit (SCU), a weed seed impact mill that incorporates their well-known MAV straw chopper. This new impact mill makes three options commercially available on the Australian market – adding to the Australian-built iHSD and Seed Terminator.

Redekop Manufacturing’s president, Trevor Thiessen.

Redekop’s president, Trevor Thiessen said the company inadvertently became involved in harvest weed seed control when they noticed their chaff carts were being used in Australia to manage weeds rather than as a fodder collection system they were first invented for in the 1980s.

“Herbicide resistance in Canada is about five years behind the situation in Australia but it is definitely an increasing problem,” he said. “We have been working toward the development of the SCU since 2013 and tested the first units in 2017 in Australia and Canada.”

“Testing continued in 2018 to gather weed kill rates, which are consistently above 98 per cent, but there are some weeds and some conditions that we are yet to test.”

Breanne Tidemann, a research scientist in field agronomy and weed science with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lacombe, is conducting the independent testing of the SCU. Breanne has also been testing a tow-behind HSD unit in Canada since 2016 harvest.

The Redekop system combines the SCU chaff stream with the MAV straw stream, mixing the two streams in the same air flow at the back of the harvester to achieve improved residue spread and distribution.

Redekop Seed Control Unit (SCU).

Peter Newman, AHRI and WeedSmart Western agronomist said the recent expansion of options for growers wanting to use impact mills as their harvest weed seed control method was phenomenal.

“The three impact mills currently available are all integrated into harvesters, making harvest weed seed control very time efficient,” he said. “One important aspect that Redekop have really focussed on is achieving even spread of the crop residue out the back of the harvester. This is critical to the integrated mill systems achieving the most cost-effective outcome for growers by re-distributing nutrients across the full cutter-bar width.”

In a recent WeedSmart survey of over 100 growers around Australia, close to 50 per cent of growers plan to adopt a weed seed impact mill into their system within the next 3 to 5 years.

Redekop will have 20 SCUs operating in Western Australia this harvest with a team of support and research personnel on hand to further assess the units’ performance in Australian conditions and address any mechanical issues.

The SCUs are available as either a complete unit incorporating a MAV chopper suitable for all harvester types or as a purpose-built mill that fits onto a John Deere residue manager. Being integrated with the straw chopper, the SCU can be easily switched from chopper to chopper plus weed seed control.

Redekop are also involved in introducing the Australian-built EMAR chaff decks to Canadian growers as an entry level investment in harvest weed seed control.

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