KI invention Seed Terminator cuts chemical use at Bellevista farms

AIMING to reduce ryegrass on-farm, the Bell family on Kangaroo Island installed a Seed Terminator on their harvester last year.

Travis Bell farms 3500 hectares at Kingscote with wife Ingrid and brother Lachie and his wife Tiffany.

They crop 1000ha of wheat, barley, canola and beans, plus contract crop 500ha.

Travis had been following the development of the Seed Terminator as it was designed by fellow Islander Nick Berry.

"We have a lot of problems with ryegrass germinating late, which is hard to manage in-crop," Travis said.

"I like this machine because we can remove some of the weed seed bank from our cropping system without using chemicals."

According to the makers of the Seed Terminator, it is a one-pass solution at harvest to help control weed seeds.

"Weed and volunteer seeds in the chaff material, when leaving the cleaning shoe, are intercepted and pulverised," it said.

"The processed material is spread back onto the paddock to return nutrients and soil-protective mulch."

It is a complicated system, but Nick has designed it in a way that makes it very easy to use.


Travis said installation took about a week, with it being the first time the technology had been used on a Claas Lexion 600 header.

"We had to do a few modifications to get the drive belts down to it and then to get the technology running, but by harvest it was working at 100 per cent," he said.

"There had been talk of the technology needing a lot of power to work effectively, but we didn't notice any horsepower problems with our Claas. We eventually forgot it was there.

"It's a credit to the simplicity of it. It is a complicated system, but Nick has designed it in a way that makes it very easy to use."

Travis had equally been impressed with previous Seed Terminator trial results.

"Trials have shown it is extremely effective, with up to 98pc kill rate of ryegrass weed seed," he said.

Travis said it was still a little early to see the long-term benefits of the machine, but he had already noticed a slight improvement.

"Definitely where we have used the Seed Terminator (the Bells run two headers at harvest time), we have seen a significant reduction in volunteers," he said.

"The challenge with ryegrass, or any weed seed, is that the Seed Terminator will only destroy the seeds that go through the machine.

"Ryegrass shatters easily. So by harvest, a reasonable percentage may have already fallen on the ground.

"Ryegrass can also lodge, making it more difficult to pick up with the header.

"So being able to get 100pc strike rate on weed seeds may be difficult.

"But however small, at least I am killing a percentage of ryegrass seed without using chemical."

Top start but late urea of concern

The season at Kingscote has started well, with good opening rains throughout May.

"We had dry sown the majority of our crop by that stage," Travis Bell said.

"We also had a mild, dry June and July, which has been beneficial in our high-rainfall environment because it's normally prone to waterlogging."

Travis was out spraying fungicides on pulses last week and then was onto spreading urea.

"It is disappointing we are about a month behind on our urea applications," he said.

"We ordered our urea in April and only received it last week with no explanation.

"It should have been out in June to get good tillering.

"Our yields will be greatly affected by the delays, which is a major concern."

Story originally published in the Stock Journal