Seed Terminator celebrates 200th instillation, a South Australian success story

200 MACHINES: Yorke Peninsula farmer Duncan McKay and Brett Bowey celebrate the 200th Seed Terminator installed. Photo: Seed Terminator
200 MACHINES: Yorke Peninsula farmer Duncan McKay and Brett Bowey celebrate the 200th Seed Terminator installed. Photo: Seed Terminator

It's no lie that 2020 has proven difficult for all. Despite the challenges, Seed Terminator reached their 200th machine install milestone right here in South Australia recently.

The machine that pulverises weed seeds during the harvest process was invented by Dr Nick Berry of Kangaroo Island.

Founder and director of commercial, Mark Ashendon said the Seed Terminator 2020 unit was attached a CaseIH 9240 harvester on the Yorke Peninsula.

"The 200th machine, to me, means that we've grown up as a company. This is a celebration of 10 years of work into research and science, and four years of practical application across Australia," Mr Ashendon said.

The Seed Terminator tackles a problem inherent to crop farming: the fact the harvesting process is the weed's best friend.

Because when the crop is cut, once the chaff and grain have been separated, the harvester flings the chaff back onto the ground.

This includes the seeds of weeds that have escaped or resisted the various stages of herbicide spraying - in other words, the toughest customers of all.

A simple attachment to the back of the combine harvester, the Seed Terminator mechanically devitalises the chaff and weed fraction, killing 99 per cent of weed seeds.

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

"While they've increased the number of weed seeds killed by the mill, that's not the only measure of achievement.

"They've also evolved the mill technology over the past four years to drive down the cost of the wearing parts and how long they last, and to increasingly decrease the amount of power used in the process."

SA farmer Duncan McKay of McKay Brothers Farming invested in the technology for their wheat, barley and lentil cropping program at Paskeville on the Yorke Peninsula.

"The issue we have in most farming situations is we're always competing with weeds, we're trying to get on top of weeds and lower our costs," Mr McKay said.

He said he is really excited to see what it can do in the next couple of years. Previously they have been managing their ryegrass with oaten hay for export but "having this machine on board, we can get rid of those weed seeds and keep chemical costs down, it's a win win."

Local dealers Larwoods Ag Services jumped on board with the technology because their aim is to provide their customers with the best possible value and quality products, and the best service, parts and backup.

Dealer principal Scott Mercer can see a huge benefit in the tech Seed Terminator had developed for their farmers in the region.

The Seed Terminator is Australian designed and Australian made for Australian farmers.

The opportunity has expanded for the Seed Terminator to be taken globally, demonstrating and proving themselves with ten units in Europe, four in Canada and three in the United States.

Seed Terminator also conducts ongoing trials in a number of universities in both Australia and overseas to test the ability to kill weeds.

The University of Adelaide testing found the device able to kill 99 per cent of notoriously tough rye grass seeds.

"Seeds come in different shapes and sizes so you need to apply different amounts of energy to kill them," Mr Ashendon said.

"How we set the mill up in different parts of the world varies slightly. We also do field trials on how many seeds we can capture with the harvester.

"The design is constantly being refined but essentially it's a mechanical system that uses the harvester's drive to transfer power to two multi stage hammer mills.

"These grind, shear and pulverise the chaff once it has been been separated out from the grain - ensuring even the toughest weed seeds won't be back."

The team at Seed Terminator know they are celebrating this success because of the partnerships they've developed in South Australia, Australia and overseas and wish to extend a big thanks to all those involved.

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