Combines are a modern farming miracle, separating grain from chaff in a matter of seconds. But that chaff — often full of seeds from herbicide-resistant weeds — gets blown right back onto the field. Enter the clever Harrington Seed Destructor, which grinds the pesky and unwanted seeds into oblivion.
This seed destructor is the brainchild of Australian farmer Raymond Harrington, who had been tinkering with his idea for years. The first machine went up for sale in Australia late last year, and the ever interesting Modern Farmer has brought it to the attention of Americans now. Weed scientists in the US are also keen to try out this mechanical alternative to herbicides.
As Harrington describes, the inspiration for his seed destructor came from watching coal getting crushed by cage mills at a nearby mine. If it works on coal, why not seeds? So Harrington jiggered together two nested cage mills that rotate in opposite directions. The whole contraption sits behind a combine, pulverizing any seeds that the combine spits out. Depending on the weed, the cage mills can destroy 95 to 99 per cent of the seeds.
DeBruin Engineering, which makes the machine, is also planning to come out with a new version integrated into a combine. In a world with ever more herbicide-resistant weeds, the Harrington Seed Destructor could be a powerful new tool. [Modern Farmer]