A Swedish company is bringing its mechanical and selective weed cutter to North America with a promise of giving farmers another method for fighting weeds.
The CombCut is designed to comb through the leaves of a cereal crop, bending over flexible crop stems, cutting stiffer broadleaf weeds with its static knife.
“You comb through your cereals or your culture and you cut the weed, but you save the crop,” explains Bengt Merkel, CEO of Just Common Sense, in the video below, filmed at Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina this week.
The Swedish farmer who built the original CombCut was aiming to control thistle in organic production, but Merkel says it can be used to suppress other weed species as well. And the weeds do not need to be taller than the cereal crop.
“It works with most weeds. The basic idea is that it cuts everything that is stiffer or more thick in the straw than the crop itself,” he explains. “The most important factor with this machine is timing. You go out when there is the most physical difference between the weed and the crop, and then of course you have to adapt…”
The company says it’s most effective on thistle when it has 6-8 leaves, but it can be used throughout the growing season.
The only moving parts on the machine are the brushes, which sweep away the cuttings. Currently available in 6 and 8m models, Merkel says they typically run the unit through a field at 8 to 12 km/hr, although they’ve operated it at up to 20 km/hr on uniform, flat fields in Sweden. Ideally, it’s mounted on the front-end loader of a tractor, he notes, but it can also be positioned in the rear.
Merkel says they’ve sold around 25 units since introducing it in Canada last year, with most of them going to organic producers on the prairies.