Kuhn - Kuhn North America Inc. - Farm Equipment in United States and Canada | Home Page
 KUHN Group 
 Kuhn North America 
 Information Center 
 Services & Support 
 Commercial-Grade Hay Tools
 50 Years of Innovation: KUHN Disc Mower
 Product Extras
 Ag Practices & Trends

Control Weeds with Power Harrows

Organic Producers Test Power Harrow for Weed Control
By Kristy Lust

The demand for organic products is growing. Organic farming has been one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture for over a decade. The United States had under a million acres of certified organic farmland when Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. By the time USDA implemented national organic standards in 2002, certified organic farmland had doubled, and doubled again between 2002 and 2005.

In Canada, the organic market has been a small sector, but is growing quickly. In 1992, the number of certified organic farms was 1,174. By 2003, that number had grown by 35 percent. According to Statistics Canada, the number of certified organic farms in 2006 was 3,555, the latest year for which data is available. However, the number of farms reporting uncertified organic products in 2006 was 11,937. This represents the trend of organic producers who do not seek certification due to its high cost and lengthy application process, but who do farm according to organic practices.

In non-organic applications, producers use herbicides to combat weeds. Organic producers, who cannot use chemicals on their crops, must rely on other methods. “Historically, organic farmers have used power tillers to control weeds. This chops up weeds and also aids in getting rid of disease,” says Vincent Audet, product specialist for Kuhn North America.

In addition, organic farmers look for ways to control insects that attack crops. In traditional applications, pesticides allow no-till methods to be utilized. However, organic farmers, using tillage tools that bury crop residues, can control pests without chemicals.

Producers view the work of a Kuhn HR 4503 power harrow.

“Moldboard plows and power tillers are often used by organic producers to control weeds and pests. However, both have downsides. Some are moving away from using plows because of the investment in time and fuel required. Power tillers, while doing an excellent job of taking care of most weeds, can also bring more seeds to the surface , and may compact the soil, causing hard pan,” says Audet. “In addition there are some weeds which can even be spread when chopped up, as the cut-up section of the weed may germinate and grow.”

A group of organic producers in eastern Quebec are considering a different tool, the power harrow, for their needs. During a power harrow demonstration, producers worked with an agronomist to determine the best settings of the power harrow to move only the top root layer of the soil in order to pull the weed roots out of the soil, shake the soil off, and leave them on the surface. This causes the weeds to dry out and die. After several passes with the power harrow set at various settings, the group found that setting the machine to work the top two inches of the soil was best for their purposes. In addition, the wheels controlled the power harrow depth instead of a full-width roller. The wheels do not press the weeds back into the soil like a roller would.

Territory Manager Richard Caron says, "The conclusion was the most favorable settings are when the soil is not worked too deep so as to not mix too much dirt with the vegetation on top. The goal is to let the sun burn the top soil and let the wind dry out the unwanted plants. What the power harrow does well is to break the roots [of the vegetation] and lift them and leave them loose on top of the soil.” The producers were impressed with the versatility of the power harrow and the many adjustment possibilities.

With the rapid growth in the organic sector, producers will increasingly look for new methods to control weeds and insects, and to increase yields. Kuhn North America is ready with a wide range of tillage tools to meet the needs of organic and conventional producers.

Product Segment
 Tillage Tools
 Planting and Seeding
 Fertilizer Spreaders
 Landscape Tools
 Hay and Forage Tools
 TMR Mixers and Bedders
 Manure Spreaders

Dealer Finder





KUHN NORTH AMERICA, INC. - 1501 West Seventh Ave. - P.O. BOX 167 - Brodhead, WI 53520 - Phone: 608-897-2131- Fax: 608-897-2561
KUHN KRAUSE, INC. - 305 S. Monroe St. - P.O. BOX 2707 - Hutchinson, KS 67501 - Phone: 800-957-2873