Hi Tech Aloe Vera's Holistic, Sustainable Weed Control | Weedtechnics

Hi-tech Aloe Vera Weed Management with Satusteam™

Pen Jacobs

Hi-tech Aloe Vera develops a holistic, sustainable weed management plan.

We cover the problems they were facing, the steam weeding setup we used, the plan we developed together, and the impact that had on their business.

 

Hi-tech Aloe Vera with their Satusteam™ weed control system

Background

Hi-tech Aloe Vera is based in Bundaberg, QLD and, as you can probably guess, they specialise in growing Aloe Vera.
They had a problem with Kikuyu grass continuously growing over their weed mat at the base of their Aloe Vera plants. As they’re an organic farm they used whipper-snipping and hand weeding to deal with the weeds, however, this was a costly process. Not only did they cause physical damage to the Aloe Vera but it was very time-consuming adding to the production costs, they’d have to go weeding with three employees every two weeks!

The Satusteam™ Weed Control Solution

Adrian, the owner of Hi-tech Aloe Vera, went all in and purchased the SW900. He used it to run two hand-held applicators or two 40cm Rowtech heads. He also bought the mini-skid and attached the SW900 to the front of his tractor using a fork setup.
He then set up the water tank in a trailer behind the tractor and, using a sureflow electric pump, transferred the water from the tank to the SW900 up front. Adrian created hydraulic arms to mount the Rowtech heads (2016 model) onto his tractor.

Hi tech Aloe Vera farm’s Satusteam™ weeding system – The SW900 and Rowtech applicator heads attached to the tractor.

The Treatment

For the first treatment, Adrian went through with the handheld applicator heads and steamed the Kikuyu grass that was growing over the weed mat right up to the base of the Aloe Vera.

On-going Satusteam™ weed control in Hi Tech Aloe Vera farm

That first treatment killed off a lot of the grass and then through subsequent treatments the Kikuyu receded all the way back to the grass strips where it first came from.
The rest of the treatments were done using the Rowtech heads which reduced the labour from 3 people to 1.
They also got into the routine of running through the plantation every 3-4 weeks (depending on the time of year). By doing this, they were able to reach speeds of 3-4 km/hour, a significant increase from the initial application speed of 0.5km/hour.

Satusteaming results with the SW900 and Rowtechs setup

Post Note: Hi-tech Aloe Vera changed its operations to import organically grown Aloe Vera from Mexico and the property was then sold. Hi Tech Aloe Vera became solely a manufacturer of Aloe Vera products.

Weedtechnics Rowtech applicator head (May, 2016)

About the Author : Pen Jacobs

I learned from my former colleague Peter Rutherford that however young or old, we can live as ecologists. Ecology - means to take care of wherever we are or wherever we go. I was already living that way, but it was good for it to have a name.

Being at Weedtechnics allows me to work as an ecologist.

As a trained graphic designer I find delight in good design wherever I see it or make it. I’m still learning to grow food. I said at a Retrosuburbia trainer’s course ‘The garden in my head is much better than reality.’ I’ve been dipping into family history, but still have to bring it to life for others. My happy place is picking up a paintbrush to paint the house. My family enjoys healthy food and hearty conversation around the dinner table.

We have a planet to save. Humans are not very good at change, so start by changing one thing.

kj