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A new weapon for farmers: Inter-row mowing for problem weeds in row crops

Conventional farmers are facing a new level of threat from weeds due to the development of multiple sources of herbicide resistance over the past decade. They are starting to feel the pain of organic growers, who have faced a long battle against weeds that is now usually fought with frequent tillage, which has been implicated in soil degradation. A tool that does not rely on chemical control or soil disturbance has emerged from a research program at the University of Missouri. A tractor-mounted mower that can cut down weeds between crop rows can combat problem broadleaves like waterhemp and Palmer amaranth with a single mowing. The mower has caught the eyes of both conventional and organic growers. Research and development is continuing at the University of Missouri with the intent of licensing the design for commercial production. It has been generations since John Deere revolutionized agriculture with his polished steel moldboard plow and now comes a tool that allows us to save the soil that the plow laid open for damage. Disturbing soil as little as possible while maintaining environmental integrity is the path of the future for agriculture and the Mizzou inter-row mower is the tool for the task.

Presented by:
Kerry Clark, University of Missouri

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