100th Seed Terminator machine fitted on Kangaroo Island combine harvester

A Seed Terminator equipped combine harvester in action in the paddock. Photo Seed Terminator
A Seed Terminator equipped combine harvester in action in the paddock. Photo Seed Terminator

This is a full circle South Australian success story with the design, manufacture and installation of the 100th Seed Terminator machine on Kangaroo Island.

The machines are fitted to the back of combine harvesters, pulverising weed seeds during harvest, thereby reducing the need for herbicide chemicals.

Inventor and Kangaroo Island farmer Dr Nick Berry invented the Seed Terminator and founded the company of the same name with his uncle Mark Ashenden.

The 100th machine was installed on to Michael, Tracy and Alan Mills' John Deere S680 combine harvester on Kangaroo Island just before last year's harvest.

When catching up with Michael Mills this week, he said the rainfall on KI had been spot on so far and they have been very lucky with a great start to the season.

Over harvest last year, Mr Mills said they noticed the Terminator took a bit of horsepower in thicker cereals, but didn't notice it in beans or canola.

"Everything comes at a slight cost, you can't run something like that without using some horsepower," he said.

The Mills family are using the technology to reduce their reliance on chemistry to control problem weeds such as rye grass and wild radish.

Dr Nick Berry and Bellevista farm's cropping manager Shaun Trickey.

Dr Nick Berry and Bellevista farm's cropping manager Shaun Trickey.

Fellow KI farmer Travis Bell and cropping manager Shaun Trickey have run the Seed Terminator on their CLAAS combine for the second season, and are very happy with the technology.

"You can see where the terminator has been versus the other header," Mr Trickey said. "It's the way of the future, it just needs to be an option on the header when you buy one."

April saw the export of eight Seed Terminator machines to Germany through Zurn Harvesting, the Aussie company's European and UK distribution partner.

Zurn's sales and service manager, Samuel Sieglin was over on Kangaroo Island back in June last year where a chance meeting saw the beginning of the partnership.

Seed Terminator documented the manufacture and installation of its 100th machine on YouTube, which can be watched below:

Seed Terminator meanwhile has started a new marketing campaign reminding farmers that newly purchased machinery needs to be installed before June 30 to take advantage of increased instant tax write-offs due to COVID-19.

Dr Berry said orders for the weed seed management technology would need to be placed quickly to ensure installation could be completed before the end of the financial year.

"With the threshold increase from $30,000 to $150,000, the entire purchase cost of a Seed Terminator can be written off," Dr Berry said.

"Farmers looking to add mechanical weed control into their operation to fight the ongoing battle against weeds and, more recently, herbicide resistance have the perfect opportunity to add a Seed Terminator to their farming system and make the most of every pass.

"This is Australian designed, tested and manufactured technology so every dollar spent is keeping Australian workers in jobs."

Seed Terminator is integrated into the combine. Photo Seed Terminator

Seed Terminator is integrated into the combine. Photo Seed Terminator

The Seed Terminator is a multi-staged hammer mill that is driven off the harvester's engine, pulverising 99 per cent of weed seeds and distributing the processed material back on to the paddock as mulch.

After working closely with farmer research partners over some 281 harvests, the Seed Terminator technology is paddock proven and farmer focused.

Four seasons of continuous improvement have resulted in a durable mechanical drive system, a range of patented mill techs with 10-minute change-out time, reduced power draw, magnet tray and it can be fitted to five makes of harvester.

The University of Adelaide Weed Science Research Group researcher David Brunton said mechanically killing weed seeds is a fundamentally important way of incorporating non-herbicidal forms of weed control into current farming systems.

"Whatever returns to the weed seed bank will, in the following year, be selected by herbicides and we want to try and reduce that," he said.

The group's testing of the Seed Terminator's mill outputs has supplied rapid and concise results to the company, allowing for continuous development and improvement of this technology.

Mill tech for weed seed control with Seed Terminator. Photo Seed Terminator

Mill tech for weed seed control with Seed Terminator. Photo Seed Terminator

Lucindale grain grower Peter Williams said he made the decision to go down the path of investing in weed seed management technology when ryegrass and other weeds became even harder to manage after high winter rainfall.

"Due to our heavy stubble loads and long-season rainfall, weeds, especially ryegrass, have always been a problem but after two very wet winters it became even more difficult," he said.

"It became obvious we had to do something other than solely rely on chemicals. Not being able to windrow burn and preferring not to go down the chaff cart path because of the heavy stubble loads, mechanical weed seed control seemed a good choice."

This story 100th Seed Terminator machine fitted on local KI combine harvester first appeared on The Islander.

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