Several recent developments have resulted in the need for a new examination of flaming as a nonchemical method of weed control. First, there has been an increase in the number of soybean producers growing organic soybeans for the edible soybean market. These producers need a method of weed control that does not rely on chemicals. Second, new technologies in burner design and the use of water shields have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of flame weeders in destroying weeds while at the same time decreasing the harmful effects of heat on the crop plant.
Weeds pose one of the most important threats to crop production. Losses in both yield and quality of crops due to weeds, as well as costs of weed control, constitute an enormous economic problem in crop production. Weeds have a major influence on the production decisions made by producers. Additional land, labor, equipment, fuel, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, fertilizer, and irrigation water may be required to maintain economical production when weeds are present.
Nashville, IN - In this on-farm study, organic vegetable producer Dale Rhoads tried out several organic herbicide materials and flaming in conjunction with a ‘stale’ seedbed to reduce the time and cost of hand-weeding leafy greens beds. The materials tested were Matran 5 (now reformulated and sold as Matran EC), two different vinegar solutions diluted to 13% and 10%, and Burnout II.
Elkhorn, WI - In 2006, researchers at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI) tested methods for evaluating corn for its ability to compete with weeds, using corn that was bred under organic conditions with weeds at MFAI, and compared with commercially available organic corn, and corn bred under conventional conditions.
Researchers utilized sunflowers as a test weed, which appeared to be a practical method for assessing the various corn entries.
There is high demand for organic broccoli in the Southeast, as shown in a 2013 market survey by Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, which revealed that broccoli is one of the top organic produce items in short supply. Broccoli can be produced most anywhere in the spring and fall, but summer production is limited to cooler growing areas.
Snap beans with enhanced nitrogen-use efficiency
for organic production-Year 2
The organic industry is on track for a six-fold increase in the next five years, having grown from $6.1 billion in sales in 2000 to $29.2 billion in sales in 2011 (4.2% of total food sales in the U.S that year). Consumer demand continues to drive steady growth of this sector, which is indicated by average growth of 8% per year since 2002.