Flame weeding on Berlekamp Farms


Usually we flame before we do the first cultivation and then cut maybe the first cultivation right behind it. The second cultivation I like to do when the corn is about knee high, you can still get through it good and not be breaking any off. The key to the whole thing is small, the smaller the better. I had a guy call me one time that had four foot tall giant ragweed and he had just bought a burner and he was going in to flame soybeans and he wanted to know what the secret was. I said “you’d better down on our knees and pray because that flamer is not going to do a thing to them.” You’re going to burn the tops of them, but you’re not going to kill them. So I don’t like to see the weeds get over 3-4″. It’s really getting too big. One technique I’ve learned and I learned this the first year I had it; was I had a field that the grass got bigger than what I wanted it to and so when I flamed it the first time it stunted it, but it didn’t really kill it. So I went back in, the corn was about knee high and I was getting ready to cultivate it the second time and I knew that grass was just too high. I like to roll dirt to the row to try to cover up as many weeds as I can, but I knew that grass was just too tall to cover and it happened to be a pretty hot day was in the 80’s or 90’s so I went in there with the flamer first and flamed it. Of course the flame really stunted the grass that big. The grass just kind of wilted down, laid right down on the ground. I went in with the cultivator tight behind it and rolled dirt over it. I didn’t think I was doing an exceptional job of even covering it there was still, I could see blades of grass sticking out of the soil when I was doing it and I didn’t think I was doing that great of a job. Well, when it come harvest my mouth just about hit the floor in the combine when I pulled in there in the fall to shell that corn. The grass just wasn’t there. I was expecting to have a mild pressure of grass in there and it was fairly clean. So I guess the grass that was sticking out of the soil must have been damaged enough by the flamer and all that dirt on top of it, the rest of the plant just smothered it out and it died.

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