Herbicide application rates within vegetable crops can be reduced substantially through the use of mechanical weed control between rows while band spraying herbicide only within rows.

According to Lemken, this is now possible courtesy of its Steketee ‘EC-Weeder’ range, which features the inclusion of a front mounted SprayHub tank.

This is connected to the rear-mounted hoeing machine via a ‘SprayKit’ application. Combining the two elements ensures that concentrated spraying only takes place within rows. As a result, growers can reportedly reduce spray agent volumes by between 40% and 60%.

Mechanical weed control

The weed control combo also acts to reduce manual labour costs, as hoeing and spraying are carried out in a single pass. Lemken said that the SprayHub combines all necessary functions for the speed-responsive application of spraying liquids. The front tank is equipped with its own controls, agitator and cleaning system for this purpose.

It is ISOBUS-controlled and can be operated via the MegaSpray software that is also available.

The SprayHub comes with a tank capacity of 1,100L or 1,500L and features a clean water tank, hand wash canister and filling screen. An additional induction nozzle is available for dissolving solid agents. A CTS connection for contactless induction is also available. The SprayKit can also be used with a range of other implements. Significantly, it features mechanical section control.

Row control

Single row control is planned as a next step, allowing automatic section control via GPS.

The application technology of the Steketee EC Weeder has been optimised for convenient use with the SprayHub, according to the company.

The height-adjustable nozzle holder is equipped with a scale to easily adjust the desired spraying height and position. This allows the width of the required spray band to be individually determined depending on row spacing, crop and type of application.

Different nozzles can be used depending on the individual application. Special band spraying nozzles ensure a uniform concentration of spraying liquid across the set band width.

The SprayHub with SprayKit will be officially launched over the coming weeks. A range of equipment options to allow the use of the system with drop hoses, under-root fertilisation on hoeing shares and in combination with the Azurit precision seed drill will follow. Lemken is advising that all physical hoeing activities taking place within a crop should get underway as early within its life cycle as possible.