The potato vine crusher – A new tool for harvest weed seed control
McKenzie-Gopsill A, MacDonald N, Anderson L, White S, Noronha C (2022) The potato vine crusher – A new tool for harvest weed seed control. CWSS/WSSA Joint Meeting, Feb 22-24th 2022, online
Harvest weed seed control (HWSC), an evolving paradigm in weed management, is highly effective for control of a variety of weed species in North American cropping systems. Previous devices for weed seed devitalization at harvest have been limited to tow-behind and integrated combine systems. The potato vine crusher (PVC) is a harvester-mounted set of rollers originally designed for crushing and control of Ostrinia nubilalis larvae during potato harvest. To evaluate potential of the PVC for HWSC, we conducted stationary testing of spring tension and roller speed settings to maximize control of Chenopodium album, the most problematic weed species in Canadian potato production. In addition, we evaluated efficacy of the PVC for control of several pernicious weed species under controlled conditions and during a simulated harvest. Increasing PVC spring tension reduced C. album control whereas roller speed had minimal effect. In contrast, maximized spring tension and minimized roller speed significantly reduced C. album germination (53%) in field soil. Hypocotyl and radical elongation was observed from C. album seed fragments under controlled conditions potentially contributing to increased control in field soil through fatal germination. High levels of control (65 – 94%) was observed for all tested species under controlled conditions. During simulated harvest, control of large weed seeds (50 – 63%) was observed whereas smaller seeds were not impacted signifying the importance of seed size for PVC efficacy. These studies demonstrate the PVC as a promising new tool for HWSC in Canadian potato production systems.