6 Nov 2013

Hot air could control some weeds - researcher

11:21 am on 6 November 2013

The Future Farming Centre in Lincoln is looking for funding to field test a non-chemical method of weed control, using heat.

The centre has adapted a Danish thermal system which uses steam to kill weed seeds in the soil, before crops are planted.

The centre's head, Dr Charles Merfield, says using hot air instead instead of steam would be just as effective and use a lot less fuel.

He says the Future Farming Centre has proved the hot air concept in the laboratory and now wants to field test it.

Dr Merfield says with the growing problem of herbicide resistance, farmers and growers need more non-chemical weed control options.

Another advantage of using hot air for weed control is, it can be recycled for other energy use.

He thinks if field trials to refine the equipment were to start next year, the Future Farming Centre could have an operational hot air weed control system ready to go in a couple of years.