Harrington Seed Destructor – Justin Blechinger
The Harrington Seed Destructor (HSD) was developed in Australia and it is widely used there. It destroys weed seeds in the chaff to help control weed populations. It was developed in response to herbicide resistance in Australia. It can be used in any type of crop as it just smashes and grinds up the chaff so any seeds not removed and transported to the hopper are destroyed and no longer viable (De Bruin Engineering, 2014). It uses a cage mill (similar to one used in coal mining) to grind the chaff (Weedsmart, 2014). It is used on conventional acres in Australia but if an organic producer could afford the HSD there is no reason they couldn’t use it on their farm.
Some advantages to using this unit as part of a weed management system are huge reduction in weed seed population in the soil (about 95%) (De Bruin Engineering, 2014), no need to remove organic matter from the soil, and spreads residue out over wide distance. Some disadvantages are the initial cost of the machine which is $240,000 (Arnason 2013), cost of additional fuel to run the HSD, it does not control weeds that lose their seeds before harvest, and the inconvenience of towing a wagon behind the combine especially when in tight areas of the field. There is also the ecological cost of adding extra greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by burning more diesel to run the HSD.
In my opinion this machine is a good idea and will continue to succeed in Australia. New models are being developed that mount on the combine and run off its engine (De Bruin Engineering, 2014). If this technology is ever going to come to North America this is how I think it will have to be sold. I can’t see any farmers here pulling a separate cart behind their combine. In the long run I think the HSD is a valuable tool in weed management and would probably pay for itself after several years.
Arnason, R. 2013. Destructor Destroys Weed Seeds. Western Producer. Available online: http://www.producer.com/2013/08/destructor-destroys-weed-seeds/ (Accessed on March 11, 2014).
De Bruin Engineering. 2014. Harrington Seed Destructor. Available online: http://www.debruinengineering.com.au/index.php/2012-07-12-02-06-03/sales/hsd (Accessed on March 11, 2014).
Weedsmart. 2014. Harrington Seed Destructor. Available online: http://www.weedsmart.org.au/harrington-seed-destructor/ (Accessed on March 11, 2014).
http://www.castonline.ilstu.edu/ksmick/150/150equip/150rhoe.jpg (Accessed on March 11, 2014).