(Waddell, Arizona)
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Cultivation in a new way

As most of you know,farming can only happen with a relative control on the whole weed situation.  Like most things, moderation is key and too much of one way or the other can spell disaster. So knowing how fast weeds grow out here at the farm especially when it starts to get hot, I know I am only limited by how I can find a more effective way of handling weeds. 

Cultivation is only good if you have perfectly straight rows of the same crop for long rows, and that's not really easy to do on a small scale.  Hand weeding is tiring, backbreaking and has been designated employee abuse by OSHA standards in any setting other than an Organic Farm. (I actually enjoy a long day of weeding, but it is only because I am always busy doing the million other tasks of running a biz that makes the simple ones so appealing)  So after research,  weed burning sounded like a good idea, but like other snake oils, a little skepticism goes a long ways towards keeping money in the general operating fund. 

In the fall last year, I found a company that makes a special weed burner that is operated by hand and was a somewhat reasonable price for experimentation.  I ordered one, and after a long wait, it finally arrived.  And after several months of using it, I found it to be an extremely effective way of keeping the weeds down!   I was delighted with the simplicity and the effectiveness after several months worth of use, but it seriously needed an upgrade.  I decided to kick into full gear the grand scheme of a tractor mounted weed burner.

We had been using it by painstakingly walking the burner down a 1/4 mile row at a time at the slowest speed we could possibly go.  Not only is it long, hot work, it literally burns the shoes right off the operator, the propane tank is heavy and requires 2 people when full.  Additionally the single wheel mount makes the whole assembly flimsy and it has somewhat uneven coverage.  So tractor mounting was the only logical solution.   Problem is, there is really only a few companies that manufacture such a thing and they are pricey!  Running in the $2 to $8,000 price range,  I hesitated to purchase expensive burner equipment because who knows if it really works or not in my operation?!

Even though the assembly is quite simple, the concept of tractor mounting it is difficult to explain and even more difficult to find someone that is willing and able to put something so abstract into an actual model. So after several no's, and a few ah maybe, I finally found my hero, Wade who after a quick assessment figured out the problem and put a plan into action. 

So here it is!  The final version of my weed burner in action, and it is just perfect!  Many thanks to Wade and many happy, less weedy-growing days in the future!

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