Weed Control by Mechanical Implement, Specifically for Row Crop and No-Till Farm Operation

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2016: $7,435.00
Projected End Date: 01/30/2018
Grant Recipient: Hudson Farms
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Project Coordinator:
Jaryl Hudson
Hudson Farms


  • Agronomic: sorghum (milo), soybeans


  • Crop Production: no-till
  • Production Systems: general crop production

    Proposal summary:


    Currently farmers are facing difficult challenges with problematic weeds. I have been trying new strategies to manage and control weeds using no-till farming methods. Timing and rotation of crops on an annual basis and the use of applied herbicide has proven effective to work out problematic weeds for the most part. However, over the past 8 years, farmers have seen these weeds become quite resistant with the use of herbicide, especially the in the case of row crops.

    Working within the recommendations from my local Co-Op chemical representative and our Crop Quest consultant we have found the need to continually modify the mixtures and ratios of these chemicals. These extra additives and changes make this option quite expensive. The use of these chemical mixtures including Glypohsate was effective but we are seeing many of the problem vegetation such as, Pigweed and Marestail are not being affected and have become Glyphosate resistant. With the presence of 10-14 inch or taller Pigweeds presenting in a row crop of Round-Up™ seed varieties, at the present time, we are finding no real or good option as far as chemical applications that prove effective.

    The amount of herbicide mixtures it currently takes to control these weeds in no-till practices and the high cost of these chemicals have become cost prohibitive without real effective results. This is affecting the grower’s profit margin and weighing on no-till feasibility to the point that some farmers are considering or electing to go back to traditional tillage to combat the issue.

    Consumers are concerned with the heavy use of herbicides, and we as producers need to show good effort in trying to manage our weeds, yet doing so in a manner that is better accepted by consumers.


    I want to design an implement for no-till farmers who plant row crop varieties in thirty-inch rows. This implement will mechanically cut and crush problematic weeds between rows without disturbing the desired ground cover or soil surface of no-till cropland. The implement is also designed with the option to apply herbicide directly to taller weeds or those not directly within the rows with a wicker bar.

    The implement is attached to a tractor and pulled by three-point hitch just as you would with a traditional cultivator. Moving through rows killing the weeds.

    Instead of shovels cutting the ground, this machine has 7 sets of two, in-line- 18 inch steel rollers. The front is fashioned with blades that roll, knock down and crimp/crush the weeds between the rows. The second roller directly behind is a smooth steel roller that continues crushing weeds in the same space. This smooth roller is set up to apply a light coating of herbicide directly onto the damaged weeds and grasses. A small tank mounted to the top of the machine fashioned with a pump, would apply herbicide through a spray nozzles onto the smooth roller, using far less chemical and water than running a sprayer rig. Wind speeds exceeding 20 mph, often keep the spray rigs out of the field. My machine also has shields below would prevent overspray even in windier conditions.

    Taller weeds and those within the rows, but above the crop, I have built a wicker tube that can be adjusted to the height of problem weeds. With the same pass as the rollers, an application of herbicide from the wicker distributes directly onto the weed tip.

    This could possibly eliminate 70% of problem weeds with one run through a field. Thus, saving fuel emissions, fuel costs, time and chemical applications costs.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Build an implement to be used to mechanically manage problematic weeds in no-till row crop farming. The implement will destroy weeds by crushing them between the rows, without disturbing or tilling the soil.
    2. Benefit the environment by using far less (or none for organic farms) expensive and toxic chemicals than are currently used, eliminating the typical herbicide drift from traditional or professional sprayer application, and reducing tractor time (fuel emissions).
    3. Enable farmers to save money on the cost of expensive herbicides and commercial or professional spray application services.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.