In this series, experienced farmers from around the country talk about how they have found success controlling weeds by following ecological principles, and without resorting to the use of herbicides. To do so, they rely on a range of cultural and mechanical practices, including diverse crop rotations, well-timed cultivation and targeting weeds when they're at vulnerable growth stages. They are:
- Johnson Farms, Madison, S.D. (grains)
- Burroughs Family Orchards, Denair, Calif. (almonds)
- Terra Preta Farm, Edinburg, Texas (horticulture)
- The Martens Farm, Penn Yan, N.Y. (grains and legumes)
Johnson Farms, Madison, S.D.
Charlie Johnson and his family work together to operate Johnson Farms in Madison, S.D., where they grow organic row crops on 1,600 acres. Along with cultivation tools like the rotary hoe, the centerpiece of their weed control strategy is a six-year rotation of oats, alfalfa for two years, soybeans, corn and soybeans. In the following videos, he gives an overview of his weed management practices and shares the details of how he manages weeds in his corn and soybean crops.
Ecological weed management AT Johnson farms
Managing Weeds in Organic Corn and Soybeans
Burroughs Family Orchards, Denair, Calif.
Burroughs Family Orchards is a 1,200-acre almond orchard in Denair, Calif. They think of the vegetation on their orchard floors more as ground cover than as weeds. To control this vegetation throughout the year they use sheep grazing, mowers and flame weeders. Regenerative agriculture is also a priority on the farm, and their use of ground cover and sheep grazing provide important soil health benefits.
Ecological Weed ManagemenT
At Burroughs Family Orchards
at Burroughs Family Orchards
Terra Preta Farm, Edinburg, Texas
Shakera and Juan Raygoza went from a small vegetable CSA to running a wholesale radish farm in the suburbs of Edinburg, Texas. The use of a basket weeder has proven essential to the success of their newer operation, because it offers efficient weed control on a larger scale. In these videos the Raygozas talk about both their overall approach to weed management, the importance of the basket weeder to their growth, and their use of hand tools in the market garden they continue to maintain.
Ecological weed management
at terra preta farm
at terra preta farm
Hand tools in the Market Garden
At Terra Preta Farm
The Martens Farm, Penn Yan, N.Y.
Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens farm nearly 2,000 acres of organic grains and legumes in the Finger Lakes region of New York. In these videos, Klaas Martens discusses the role of careful field observation and diverse crop rotations in their non-chemical management of weeds, blind cultivation strategies, and the camera-guided finger weeder, which allows for in-row weed cultivation after crop emergence.