Improving Weed Control on the Small Farm: Evaluation of Scale-Appropriate Cultivation Tools

2010 Annual Report for GNE10-004

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2010: $8,700.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Grant Recipient: University of Maine
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Eric Gallandt
University of Maine

Improving Weed Control on the Small Farm: Evaluation of Scale-Appropriate Cultivation Tools


Because the project did not begin until August 1, 2010, I was unable to utilize the 2010 growing season using the funds awarded by this grant. However, I was able to begin conducting some of the research objectives of the project with support from the University of Maine’s Weed Ecology Group and Cooperative Extension. Using these resources I was able to obtain some of the hand cultivation tools of interest, conduct trials to evaluate the speed and effectiveness of these tools in killing weed seedlings during the critical weed free period, and conduct interviews to gain insight into how the tools were perceived by participants. I was also able to present some of this information at events held by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Objectives/Performance Targets

  1. 1. Conduct qualitative evaluations to compare several familiar, traditional hand tools to newer innovative designs 2. Conduct quantitative evaluations to determine how working rate and efficacy relate to qualitative factors 3. Determine through the interview process which perceptions contribute to tool selection, and how this relates to the adoption of new technology


-5 cultivation trials were conducted between June and August 2010 to evaluate the speed and efficacy of hand weeding tools

Tools trialed included: Weed Master (Sweeps, Fingers, Disc Hillers), Double Wheel Hoe, Wheel Hoe, Stirrup Hoe, Collinear Hoe, Hooke’n Crooke Hoe, Ho-Mi Digger, Circle Hoe, Loop Hoe, Swoe
(See Figure 1)

-Mark Guzzi of Peacemeal Farm in Dixmont, Maine participated in cultivation trials and gave qualitative feedback regarding tools of interest


“Scale Appropriate Weed Control Tools for the Small Farm”
Wednesday June 23, 2010
Peacemeal Farm in Dixmont, Maine
MOFGA Farm Training Project Workshop on Ecological Weed Management
Attendance of approximately 75 Journeypersons and Apprentices
(See Figure 2 and 3)

“Demonstration of Experimental Design for Small Scale Weed Control Tools”
Thursday July 1, 2010
University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Rogers Farm in Stillwater, Maine
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Organic Small Grains Field Day
Attendance of approximately 50 members of the public
(See Figure 4)

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

-A variety of tools of interest to the project were obtained through University of Maine resources

-Experimental design for evaluating hand cultivation tools was established

-Quantitative data was collected evaluating the working rate and efficacy of various tools of interest (See graph: Figure 1). The data suggests that non-wheeled tools generally achieve a higher level of efficacy, but have a slower working rate compared with wheeled tools. The working rate of wheeled tools, specifically the Weed Master, was significantly faster, and with certain implements a comparable efficacy can be achieved.

-Tools were presented, compared, and demonstrated for Journeypersons and Apprentices during MOFGA’s Farm Training Project Ecological Weed Management Workshop at Peacemeal Farm in Dixmont, Maine (See Figure 2 and 3)

-Tools and experimental design were presented at The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Organic Small Grains Field Day at Rogers Farm in Stillwater, Maine (See Figure 4)


Mark Guzzi

[email protected]
25 Peacemeal Ln.
Dixmont, ME 04932
Office Phone: 2072574103
Mark Hutton

[email protected]
52 U.S. Route 202
Monmouth, ME 04259