Farm Weekly bumped into Seed Terminator directors Nick Berry and Mark Ashenden at last week’s Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama and got an exclusive heads-up on the company’s latest news.
The pair were at the AFGRI Equipment stand talking with Seed Terminator owners and interested farmers about the unit’s performance last harvest and improvements being made for the 2019 harvest.
The big news is the development of a new milling system which incorporates multi-stage hammer mill technology, trade-marked as Aero-IMPACT.
“Refinements to the system mean there’s significantly less power draw of about 31 per cent and longer wearing mill components,” Nick said.
“We’re honing in our cost per hectare.
“And the weed kill has been measured at 97pc, operating above 2500rpm.
“But we’re achieving good kills rates independent of speed and even at 2250rpm, our tested figures are 93pc.”
The Seed Terminator is manufactured in WA by CGS Engineers in Kojonup and according to Nick, because all rotating components are fully machined in an aerodynamic profile, the no-load power is down and the tungsten-coated parts are lasting longer.
“And our screens are working really well, preventing any seeds from escaping until they are sheared, crushed and ground,” he said.
A total of 81 headers fitted with the Seed Terminator were in operation during the 2018 harvest with positive feedback from owners.
“The units were fitted to all major brands, including CLAAS and Massey Ferguson, of Class seven to 10 headers,” Nick said.
“And from the feedback we can claim proven reliability of all components, less wear and there’s plenty of confidence in the mechanical drive system.”
Nick said a strong WA dealership network was now in place including Boekeman Machinery, AFGRI Equipment, Staines Esperance, Farmers Centre 1978 and Farmers Centre Pty Ltd.
In Esperance, AFGRI Equipment will deal with fitments to John Deere headers; Staines will look after New Holland and Farmers Centre Pty Ltd will handle Case IH headers.
Nick, who is involved in a 1200ha family farm with his wife Emma and two children, ironically owns a chaff cart because he runs sheep.
“The weeds are still there from the dumps but it’s great for my own testing of the Seed Terminator,” he said.
“I just shovel material onto a conveyor into the mill at known rates and the University of Adelaide weed science group tests the germination,” he said.
“Experience tells me that seed kill can be counter intuitive.
“You have to test even the most minor of change as it can have a big impact.”
Nick has been developing mill technology for 10 years and insists he hasn’t finished yet.
“We have developed an alternate mill option for our existing and new machines which provides a lower cost, lower power solution when you can’t get as many seeds into the front”
The Seed Terminator has been designed as a simple one-pass solution to destroy weed seeds.
Weed and volunteer seeds present in the chaff material leaving the cleaning shoe, are intercepted and pulverised using the Aero-IMPACT system.
It incorporates a mechanical drive system that is driven by the harvester engine, with minimal moving parts, incorporating only shafts, belts and a gearbox.
The belt is driven off the chopper drive.
Nick said retro-fitting a Seed Terminator usually took “two man days”.
The commercial production of weed-killing machines should provide a major tool for farmers to mitigate weed seed burdens.
And as Nick pointed out, it’s an annual battle.
“Most guys are involved with integrated weed management systems and there’s a lot of good work being done to reduce weed seed populations,” he said.
“But the aim is to kill as many weed seeds as possible so we can reduce our reliance on chemicals.
“You may have killed 98pc of the ryegrass from chemical applications through the season, but the problem is those two per cent surviving can have hundreds of seeds making the problem next year bigger than this year.
“That is where killing them at harvest is so crucial to prevent growing the weed seed bank.”