Reducing Pigweed Numbers With Windrow Burning – Basic “Blueprints” Here

In a recent article on reducing the number of Palmer pigweed seed carried over into the next season, we reported on the concept of narrow windrow burning, a system initially developed in Australia.

The windrows are formed as chaff or residue exits the combine. Essentially, a set of steel plates mounted on the rear of the combine funnel the residue – including weed seed – into a 30-inch-wide windrow.

From there, it’s simply a matter of burning the windrows.

In a paper published in the scientific journal Weed Science, a team of U.S. and Australian researchers conducted multi-year comparisons of several approaches to reducing the number of Palmer pigweed seed that would end up in the soil’s seed bank. The study looked at a range of common and non-so-common approaches.

Narrow windrow burning scored among the top 3 methods.

As researchers found, narrow windrow burning destroyed 100% of the weed seed within the burned windrow, says Jason Norsworthy, a University of Arkansas weed scientist and one of the study’s authors.

Click image to enlarge.

That’s not to say some seed weren’t scattered between the windrows, but a significant portion of Palmer seed made it into the fire.

When the windrow is not burned – which might be the case under certain environmental conditions – more weed seed survived, “but you get a good bit of decay during the winter months, and we still saw a positive benefit,” Norsworthy says.

Adding the chute to a combine could cost around $200, according to Norsworthy, who already has received 40 to 50 requests on how build one.

Click here to download a rough set of plans for the project.

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