I did not grow up on a farm but my sister married a farmer.Our Dad was a grocer.While not unaccustomed to working my brother and I loved going to the farm not only to get out of town but to see the nephews. Well in the summer months we helped MD-my sister-“cut weeds out of beans”.This was the manual process before herbicides were in full force to cut the weeds with a hoe or ‘corn knife” going down the rows of soybeans.To accomplish the task we each took 4 rows at a time going down a 1/4 mi row that was usually waist high and wet from the dew-had to start early on the farm!One of the pesky weeds was a ‘smartweed”-Polygonum pensylvanicum.Briefly the SW is a member of the buckwheat family,Polygonaceae,They contain a juice which can smart if in direct contact.While the species contains 200 members about 24 are in the US-being more populated in the eastern half.The leaves are usually lance shaped and the flower pinkish or white.The seeds are are basically large and are feed for our songbirds and fowl.Those were the days!
My personal note here-how many leaders(from anywhere) are more concerned about a worm-Ghana worm-to eradicate a disease to make the world a better place!
If a robot can sweep your carpet it can pull your weeds.At a conference in Sydney Australia 60 engineers from around the world met at SyndeyU. for the first conference on agricultural robotics.The Australians have developed robots that can de-weed crops.The robots can pull out,laser it,microwave it, or spray weed killers.This can save on labor and yield as the robots eliminate weeds that can also add to harvesting costs, while adding an alternative to more chemicals .We are starting to read that manual elimination of weeds may be needed to lessen our dependence on more chemicals.Hey as a 10 year old who cut “corn out of beans”at my sister’s farm-that sounds like science fiction that will be on the horizon.The horizon is at the end of 2015.Currently estimated at $100,000-AU$ our farmers may want to see some results.Story and pic from:www.ibtimes.co.uk.