Homemade chaff liner to save spraying

Homemade chaff liner to save spraying

Cropping
WEED MANAGEMENT: Yorke Peninsula cropper Nathan Allen with their chaff lining header modification.

WEED MANAGEMENT: Yorke Peninsula cropper Nathan Allen with their chaff lining header modification.

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A relatively cheap header modification is enabling the Allen family to manage their chaff, and ultimately weed seeds, better at harvest.

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A relatively cheap header modification is enabling the Allen family to manage their chaff, and ultimately weed seeds, better at harvest.

Nathan Allen farms with father Ian, uncle Trevor and cousin Daniel in the Warooka/Yorketown district, cropping wheat, barley, canola and lentils alongside a self-replacing Merino flock.

In the middle of last year, they were investigating harvest weed seed management.

"Before we were only tackling weeds, particularly ryegrass, with in-crop herbicides, but at harvest the weed seeds were just spread with the straw and chaff out the back of the header," Nathan said.

"But with ryegrass resistance becoming an issue, we realised we needed better weed control that didn't necessarily require spraying."

They looked at destruction mills, chaff carts and chaff lining kits to bolt on the back of the header, but found them too expensive.

That's when they found a chaff lining header modification on Twitter that "tinkerer" Ian thought he could build himself.

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"We made a tarp funnel that hung from the sieves on back of the (New Holland CR9090) header and the chopper equipment," Nathan said.

"We put runners on each side, so we can slide the bag into place with relative ease. The chaff falls down into a spout at the base of the bag and keeps most of the seed in a 30-centimetre line."

They trialled their handiwork during the last harvest and after some teething issues, it was all smooth sailing.

Post-harvest, the chaff was left to break down in the paddock.

"The ultimate aim is to confine the problem to areas we then manage directly, instead of a blanket spraying approach," he said.

"We also hoped the crop competition with itself would also reduce numbers.

"We found the lines didn't come up super weedy, so it's doing something.

"We obviously can't catch it all in one year, but we're happy with the minor improvement so far - a cheap tactic to control weeds without chemicals."

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