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Karat 9 tillage tool from Lemken Lemken
VERSATILE TOOL: The Karat 9 from Lemken provides many tillage options, including one-pass seedbed preparation.

Tillage still an option in growers’ toolbox

Hi-Tech Farming: A new, versatile tillage tool adapts to various needs.

Tillage has come a long way from the two-bottom, moldboard plow and 5-foot pull-type disk without wheels. Lemken takes innovation a step further with its Karat 9 implement, designed strategically for versatility and flexibility in tillage operations.

If tillage is still part of your cropping system, the Karat 9 from Lemken, based in Fargo, N.D., allows you to achieve consistent working depths from 2 to 12 inches. It will deliver “perfect seedbed preparation” in a single pass, even in hilly areas, according to the company.

Heavy-duty shanks followed by serrated, concave discs provide mixing of soil and organic matter. Choose from eight different shank configurations, making the implement unique. You can change from one to another without wrenches.

ContourTrack, an option for semimounted models, provides consistent working depth on valleys and hilltops. Learn more at lemken.com.

War on weeds

BASF recently launched Operation Weed Eradication as an industrywide initiative to eliminate on-farm weeds. It’s a call to arms by BASF, asking growers and partners to take action against weeds through cultural practices, chemical control and enhanced diligence.

“Our approach to on-farm eradication will uproot problem weeds and help secure a sustainable farming future that builds a successful legacy for seasons and generations to come,” says Scott Kay, vice president of U.S. Crop for BASF Agricultural Solutions.  

BASF intends to assemble an industry coalition to develop a specific eradication customer offering and release educational initiatives. Learn more at operationweederadication.com.

War on insects

Meanwhile, Agragene Inc., founded in 2017, introduced Knock-Out, a product designed to control insects without insecticides, particularly in specialty crops. The concept combines a decades-old approach, sterile insect technology, with proprietary genomics technology to provide rapid, real-time control of pests with reduced labor costs.

Here’s the most intriguing part: This concept uses autonomous drones to deliver sterile male insects into fields. Check it out at agragene.com.

Better yield estimates

Sentera believes you will more accurately estimate corn yields during the season in the future using Tassel Count analytics. The company will release this new feature in March 2020. It analyzes aerial images to arrive at tassel counts per acre.

Spokespeople note it should also help more accurately time application of certain crop protection products. Visit sentera.com.

Electrocute weeds

Sound far-fetched? Two brothers in Missouri who were electricians first and organic growers second developed the Weed Zapper. It’s a tool that smacks weeds with electric current, sending it down into the roots. Once the current reaches a coulter on the machine running in the soil, it completes the circuit and kills the weed.

Beck’s examined the Weed Zapper at the company’s Practical Farm Research plots in El Paso, Ill., and allowed the company to display the unit at a field day there in 2019.

Developers say weeds must be taller than the crop for it to work. It provides quicker kill of broadleaves than grasses, although it will control grasses. Woody species are tougher to control. They say it won’t kill soybeans if it doesn’t contact the main node at the top of the plant.

The “zapper” bar is positioned in front of the tractor, while the tractor pulls a generator that develops the electric power. More than 90 units were in fields testing the concept this year. It’s geared toward organic producers looking for alternate means of weed control. Visit theweedzapper.com.

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