For many organic farmers, certain weeds like giant ragweed, can quickly overtake a row crop. Controlling weeds that have risen above your crops canopy is done in two ways. For organic farmers, not having the option to go out and spray the field with a herbicide can pose real problems for crop yield.
There are two ways to effectively control weeds above your crop canopy.
- Manually removing weeds by walking a field with human labor
- Utilizing a mechanical weed zapping tool
How do we control weeds above the crop canopy in organic fields?
For obvious reasons, weeds growing in a field present a number of problems for organic farmers. One of the biggest is a stunted crop. Crops that are overtaken by weeds produce less yield not only in the immediate cropping season, but also in crop seasons to come. One of the other major problems we see in fields with a significant weed problem is difficulty harvesting. Weed seeds can clog up a combine, making harvest inefficient, and also end up traveling from field to field in your combine or harvesting implement.
Manually removing weeds by walking fields
While it’s highly labor intensive, manually removing weeds with the use of a hoe is highly effective in controlling weeds in crops that are too far along to effectively cultivate. Yes, organic farmers still do manually walk fields, or hire folks to walk large fields and remove weeds by hand. While it’s labor intensive and expensive, it is also effective.
The weed zapper is an effective tool for removing weeds above the crop canopy. In the video below, we’re utilizing our weed zapper on organic soybeans to effectively remove giant ragweed. As far as mechanical weed control, the weed zapper is more of a “band aid” solution to a weed problem in your field. In our experience, utilizing a tine weeder and cultivation systems is the key to preventing weeds from aggressively overtaking your crop.
Crop Fertility Services does offer custom weed zapping services throughout the Upper Midwest. If you’re in a situation where you’ve got an aggressive weed overtaking your crop canopy, give us a call at (612)309-7522. Or, contact Brian (at) cropfertilityservices.com via email for a fast, free weed zapping quote.