background image
Jim O'Mahony
Crops & Horticulture Specialist, reviews the new
Steketee mechanical weed control technology from Lemken
Technological advances in Global Positioning Systems
GPS camera imaging and smart software are combining
to facilitate reduced chemical input by enabling
mechanical hoeing weed control.
New Steketee mechanical weed control technology
from Lemken is bringing hoeing and camera technology
solutions for automatic machine control to Irish growers.
Each Steketee hoe is configured individually for specific
situations. Crop type, row width, precision of sowing,
soil type and conditions, topography, tractor track width
and inter-row or intra-row tillage are all considered in
selecting the required components.
Replacing chemical intervention
The acceptance of chemicals for crop care is decreasing,
both among farmers and within the broader society.
Over the last five years we have lost many pesticide
actives such as diquat, CIPC, linuron, ioxynil, IPU and
triasulfuron from the Irish market. Even more demanding
pesticide registration legislation and is likely in the years
ahead. Supply of new active/products is decreasing due
to increasing R&D costs and registration uncertainty.
At the same time, weed, insect and pathogen resistance
against currently available active substances is continually
increasing, while hardly any new substances are coming
onto the market. As legal requirements are becoming
more and more stringent we need effective alternatives.
Given the widespread use of herbicides, replacing these
offers the greatest potential for reducing the use of
chemical crop care products. Lemken intends to promote
mechanical weed control by adding hoeing technology to
its product range.
Steketee Customised hoeing equipment
Three different baseline elements meet diverse
requirements. The Basic element is suited for light
conditions and low crops in tightly spaced rows, such
as lettuces and other vegetable crops. It allows for a
minimum row distance of 15 cm and an underframe
clearance of 50 cm. The Combi element was developed
for medium to heavy conditions with a minimum row
distance of 20 cm and an underframe clearance of 70
cm. It is available with a hydraulic lifting system and the
option of applying pressure on tools.
The TRS element is for very heavy conditions, minimum
row distances of 20 cm and an underframe clearance of
70 cm. When selecting tools, soil conditions need to be
taken into account, above all. Mechanical weed control
is based on weeds being uprooted, cut off and buried,
ideally at the seedling stage of their growth. Tools must
work at the shallowest depths possible (up to 2 cm)
to effectively destroy weed roots and prevent weed
seeds from germinating. A range of knives, shares and
mounts are available for this purpose. The product range
is complemented by other tools for optimising weed
control, and a wide variety of band spraying options is also
Precision steering
Steketee hoeing equipment comes with a range of
steering systems, which control a parallelogram frame
independently of the tractor to guide the hoe precisely
inside and along the rows. The internally developed IC-
Light automatic camera control system recognises hues
of green or the RGB colour space, which is particularly
Moving towards
mechanical weed control