SW900 and Rowtech Video

This is some extraordinary drone footage of a SW900 and Rowtech set up, being operated from the set of a tractor.  The hydraulics were created by the owner of the machine, Weedtechnics can also supply our equivalent Hydro-Boom set up.
This is an organic farm producing Haskap berries, which are native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in countries such as Canada.

 

Christchurch and Wairarapa Councils Explore Organic Alternatives

Since mid-2016, Christchurch City Council has been reducing its use of chemical weedkillers by exploring organic alternatives and saturated steam.

They have bought a truck fitted with a 2000 litre water tank and a boiler unit and are using it the eastern suburbs to blast weeds growing by the roadside with jetted super-heated water.

“The boiler unit heats the water under pressure to a temperature of 120 degrees. The super-heated water is then jet blasted onto the weeds. It essentially cooks the weeds and kills them,’’ says Council Transport Operations Manager Steffan Thomas.

“We’re still in the early stages of analysing the benefits of this new methodology but so far it does seem to be pretty effective.’’

Citycare has recently rolled out a second truck that can thermally kill weeds.

source: Newsline


Wairarapa councils have been considering the issue for even longer, since 2015.

Read the article at the Wairarapa Times-Age.

Brendan Tait is the owner/operator of Wellington-based Envirosteam, a contracting business which uses Weedtechnics’ machines to kill weeds, was approached for comment by the Times-Age;

He said New Zealand should lead the pack in finding alternatives to poison. “We’re all about the clean and green – but we’ve also got this old boy mentality of ‘spray it, she’ll be right’.”

Tait said steam killing of weeds was possible at a council level, but it took more commitment.

Four to six weeks after steaming, remaining seeds and taproots would sprout again, “but once you give it a second dose – then a third, its gone, its dead, there’s nothing coming back”.

However, the process was slower than using chemical spray applicators. “It can take twice as long – because I’m targeting, not blanket spraying.”

In terms of protective gear, Tait had no worries of carcinogens when steaming. He said steam could be applied in shorts and a T-shirt if you wanted to, with leather gloves to guard yourself when handling the hot applicator.
Tait was interested to see where New Zealand’s chemical conversation would lead after the Monsanto case. “It depends on what you read and by who. Sixty years ago, cigarette smoking wasn’t [considered] bad for your health.”

We’re interested to see where New Zealand’s chemical conversation is going as well, we know what we have to say about it! How about you?

Hi-Tech Aloe Vera

Take an in-depth look at how we helped Hi-tech Aloe Vera develop a holistic, sustainable weed management plan for their organic farm.

We cover the problems they were facing, the steam weeding set up we used, the plan we developed together and the impact that had on their business.

Background.

Hi-tech Aloe Vera is based in Bundaberg, QLD and, as you can probably guess, they specialise in growing Aloe Vera.

They had a problem with Kikuyu grass continuously growing over their weed mat at the base of their Aloe Vera plants. As they’re an organic farm they used whippersnipping and hand weeding to deal with the weeds, however, this was a costly process. Not only did they cause physical damage the Aloe Vera but it was very time consuming adding to the production costs, they’d have to go weeding with three employees every two weeks!

The Set Up.

Adrian, the owner of Hi-tech Aloe Vera, went all in and purchased the SW900. He used it to run two hand-held applicators or two 40cm Rowtech heads. He also bought the mini-skid and attached the SW900 to the front of his tractor using a fork setup.

He then set up the water tank in a trailer behind the tractor and, using a sureflow electric pump, transferred the water from the tank to the SW900 up front. Adrian created hydraulic arms to mount the Rowtech heads onto his tractor.

You can check out the set up below.

Organic Weed Control Set Up

The Treatment.

For the first treatment, Adrian went through with the handheld applicator heads and steamed the Kikuyu grass that was growing over the weed mat right up to the base of the Aloe Vera.

Steam Hand Application

That first treatment killed off a lot of the grass and then through subsequent treatments the Kikuyu receded all the way back to the grass strips where it first came from.

The rest of the treatments were done using the rowtech heads which reduced the labour from 3 people to 1.

They also got into the routine of running through the plantation every 3-4 weeks (depending on the time of year), doing this they were able to reach speeds of 3-4 km/hour increasing from the initial application speed of 0.5km/hour.

Rowtech Weed Control

Post Note: Hi-tech Aloe Vera changed its operations to import organically grown Aloe Vera from Mexico and the property was then sold. Hi Tech Aloe Vera became solely a manufacturer of Aloe Vera products.

Rowtech Tracking

 

EMRC Training Sessions

On Mid-April 2016 Jeremy Winer, in conjunction with EMRC, held 5 training sessions over 5 days to teach participants how to use the Steamwand Range. The training sessions were attended by close to 40 people who work with weeds in a variety of environments. As you’ll soon see, the training was a success. And as one of our participants put it:

“Good luck trying to use the Steamwand without training. Thorough and Necessary.”

Let’s dive into it shall we?

The Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) is a progressive and innovative regional local government authority working on behalf of six member councils located in Perth’s eastern suburbs. By partnering with member councils the EMRC facilitates strategies and actions for the benefit and sustainability of Perth’s Eastern Region.

The EMRC recently received two lots of Government grants from the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW). One grant was for the purchase of a Steamwand SW700, the second was to put 40 member council operatives through the steam weeding training provided by Jeremy Winer.

EMRC also received another grant from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Office to undertake an alternative weed management trial. The project, named Steaming to Success, will monitor, test and compare the Weedtechnics method of saturated steam and boiling water to other non-chemical weed management strategies.

The Training.

The training sessions were done over 5 days with groups of 6-8 participants each day. The training was also done across a number of locations around Perth to showcase the countless environments in which the Steamwand Range can be safely used. Some environments we visited include environmentally sensitive wetland and creekline areas, small bushland reserves, landscaped parks, gardens and verges.

Jeremy gave an in-depth introduction to the alternative methods of weed control and highlighted

  1. The numerous hidden costs associated with chemical management.
  2. The key steps involved in creating a chemical-free weed management program.
  3. Various strategies one can use to reduce weeding time and increase efficiency.

After this Jeremy covered the operations of the machine and gave everyone a chance to start up and shut it down assisted and unassisted.

After the training we conducted a participant survey, here are the overall results:

How clearly did Jeremy demonstrate the safe use of the machine?  

How clearly did Jeremy answer questions and address concerns? 

With the passage of time since training do you still feel confident to operate the machine without supervision?

What Now?

Do you want to organise training as well? Contact us.

Right now some of the municipal organisations are hiring the Steamwand SW700 from EMRC and the newly trained operators are implementing non-chemical weed management programs. They other EMRC trials will be underway with the start of the WA weed growing season. When we receive some more information about those results we’ll post them here.