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Controlling weeds with steam

Controlling weeds with steam

The X-Steam-inator does just that

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A Saskatchewan farmer has invented a new piece of equipment to help producers with their weed management programs.

Ron Gleim, who raises organic crops near Chaplin, Sask., developed the X-Steam-inator after thinking of ways to control weeds in his fields.

“Four years ago we started using hot water and then over the next three years we kind of started to develop the steam,” he told CBC on Saturday. “About a year and a half ago, I put a patent on it and now here we are.”

The Zamboni-shaped implement would help control weeds prior to seeding. Eventually, Gleim could develop the product into a self-propelled machine and configured it to manage weeds between rows.

Herbicides are a notable input expense.

In Saskatchewan, for example, producers spend between $25 and $80 per acre on herbicides depending on the crop and geographic location, Saskatchewan Agriculture’s 2019 Crop Planning Guide says.

Cutting crop protection costs while potentially getting similar levels of weed control could be attractive to farmers.

The X-Steam-inator “is going to be sold on its economics, and that’s how it should be sold,” Gleim said.

And as weeds become increasingly resistant to commercial herbicides, farmers will need to consider other management options.

“The harsh reality is that we certainly cannot rely on herbicides like we used to,” Rob Gulden, a weed expert at the University of Manitoba, told CBC. “Some of these other technologies – whatever they may be – certainly are another tool in the toolbox to manage weeds.”

Farmers could purchase X-Steam-inator units in time for the 2021 growing season if testing goes according to plan.

Farms.com has reached out to Gleim for comment.

Ron Gleim and the X-Steam-inator
X-Steam-inator/CBC photo

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