MSU to host field day on mechanical weed control

Midwest Mechanical Weed Control Field Day 

Make the Decision for Precision

Learn the tools and techniques for effective mechanical weed control.

This field-day, hosted by Dan Brainard, Sam Hitchcock Tilton, and Marisa Benzle of Michigan State University Department of Horticulture, will take place at the MSU Horticulture Teaching and Research Center – 3291 College Rd, Holt, MI 48842, on Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The field-day will begin with time to inspect many types of weeding machines and cultivating tractors and talk to fellow growers. Jean-Paul Courtens will speak about getting the most out of your tools and the principles of effective mechanical weed control. Courtens started Roxbury Farm in New York, which grew into a large and innovative vegetable operation. He now helps train experienced farmers at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub. After lunch together, farmers and researchers who have been using tools to control weeds in the row will talk and demonstrate in-row tools in the field. Later, watch manufacturer’s demonstrate their weeding tools and cultivating tractors on lettuce and young beets.

 The fee for the field day and lunch is $15. Register before Sept. 15 Registration and payment information can be found at http://msue.anr.msu.edu/events/midwest_mechanical_weed_control_field_day. Those without the internet can send a check for $15 payable to ‘Michigan State University’ to Sam Tilton, Department of Horticulture, 1066 Bogue Street, East Lansing MI, 48823. Also see the ‘Cultivation Field Day’ page on facebook.

In 2017 a team from Michigan State University’s Horticulture Department received a Partnership grant from the North Central SARE to support investigations by researchers and farmers into new in-row weed control machines. In April of 2017 three Midwestern vegetable growers along with a professor and two graduate students traveled to a conference on physical weed control in Switzerland and then toured Swiss vegetable farms. Building on earlier work, researchers and growers have been using in-row weeding tools over the 2017 season and collaborating to find the best techniques, including combining certain weeding tools in a single operation. More information about this project can be found in the SARE database of projects, https://projects.sare.org/sare_project/onc17-025/

Many brands of finger-weeders, torsion weeders, flex-tine harrows will be on display and demonstrated, as well as many other cultivation tools. Also, in addition to the many older cultivating tractors on display, manufacturers of new cultivating tractors and tools will demonstrate their machines – Tilmor, Oggun, and the Kult-Kress company. This is a unique opportunity for farmers to learn from each other, hear from a master-farmer, inspect many weeding tools for themselves, and see and compare almost all of the cultivating tractors made today.

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