Before herbicides, weeding used to be an indispensable operation of mechanical weed elimination in corn maize or sugar beet crops. The use of this mechanical operation gradually decreased with the development of chemical solutions. At present, weeding is becoming more common once again, mainly due to legislation and changes in the use of chemical applications.
Inter-row cultivation is most often used in corn, sunflower or sugar beet crops, however, it is also becoming popular to weed oilseed rape and soya crops. In the near future, weeding will be used as a method of mechanical elimination of weeds also in cereal crops, which will be grown with a wider inter-row distance, or in double-row systems using strip-till soil cultivation.ROW-MASTER Inter-Row Cultivators
Weeding improves the physical properties of soil nutrient intake by plants and the condition of vegetation. In maize vegetation, it has a considerable effect on increasing the aboveground biomass. Inter-row loosening has a weeding effect, which reduces the need to use herbicides and goes hand in hand with the trends of ecological farming.
The only way to remove weed beet from the sugar beet crop is to mechanically eliminate it using a weeding machine. Inter-row cultivation also has a soil-protecting effect. The loosened soil layer in the inter-row prevents fast drainage of surface water, and reduces the risk of water and air erosion. Liquid or solid fertilizers can be applied whilst weeding, thus improving the overall condition of the crop.
“MECHANICAL ELIMINATION OF WEEDS IS ONE OF THE OPTIONS ON HOW TO SAVE CONSIDERABLE FINANCIAL RESOURCES SPENT ON CHEMICAL APPLICATIONS.”
Farmers have always strived to create the best conditions for quality crop establishment and balanced growth when cultivating soil. In practice, we can often see well-cultivated soil with a fine topsoil structure with minimum clods and no larger soil particles. Some farmers still believe that it is impossible to establish crop in any other soil than in this cultivated and almost “dusty” soil.
But the opposite is true; the gradual changes in agricultural technology and seeding procedures, legislation in the field of handling of chemical plant protection products, and the pressure on reducing the risk of soil erosion have shown that the future trend is soil-protective, or reduced soil cultivation.
The strip-till soil cultivation technology is based on the preparation of narrow strips, in which the wide-row crops are established. This technology is most often used in soil cultivation for seeding corn, sunflower, sugar beet, oilseed rape, or soya. However, it is only a matter of time before this technology will also be used for preparing soil before seeding cereals in two rows or wide rows.
The strips are usually processed with an inter-row distance of 18/20 or 29.5/31 inches in the autumn. Machines suitable for strip-till soil cultivation include the STRIP-MASTER EN cultivator with a maximum working depth of 14 inches, or the TERRASTRIP ZN deep cultivators with a working depth of up to 22 inches for autumn soil cultivation.
The benefits of strip-till soil cultivation include faster warming up of the processed strips by sun, soil aeration, reduced erosion, better water absorption in soil when compared with direct seeding, and cost savings in the form of a targeted application of supply fertilizer into the processed strips.
The inter-rows created between the individual strips have a positive effect on the soil condition. The unprocessed inter-rows maintain soil moisture and prevent its quick evaporation, this effect is even higher when the inter-rows are covered with a layer of crop residue or there is catch crop. Moreover, the unprocessed rows also work as a barrier that prevents a speedy development of weeds, as it creates a competitive environment.
The TERRASTRIP method is an agricultural method developed by the BEDNAR Company. It processes soil at a deeper level than the standard strip-till method. When compared with the standard strip-till method, the TERRASTRIP method shows significantly better results, particularly in corn. Strips are tilled at a deeper level of up to 22 inches. As a result corn has a higher supply of ground moisture especially in dry areas. The TERRASTRIP method has also proven to be advantageous for those who grow sugar beet.BEDNAR Chisel Ploughs