Harvest Weed Seed Control
One primary focus of our work is to evaluate how well a tactic called harvest-time weed seed control (HWSC) can work to target herbicide resistant weeds in the United States. The goal of HWSC, which is established in Australia but not yet in the US, is to target seeds from escaped weeds during harvest and ultimately deplete the soil weed seed bank. HWSC methods include narrow windrow burning, chaff carts, baling, and the Harrington Seed Destructor (HSD). The Harrington Seed Destructor is a grinding machine that is dragged behind the combine during harvest. It grinds and pulverizes any weed seeds that are ejected from the combine in the chaff. We are testing this equipment by running it through fields infested with problem weeds including waterhemp and redroot pigweed, and observing how well it destroys the weed seeds. We are also doing stationary testing on several other problem weed species like giant ragweed and cocklebur by running seed-containing chaff through the HSD while it is sitting still. By running these trials over the next four years, we will be able to evaluate its long-term effect on weed pressure by quantifying the extent to which it decreases future weed infestations and prevents seed bank development.