Fighting weeds with steam

Kathryn Dryden
April 5, 2016

Fighting weeds with steam

Councils, farmers, community groups and traditional owners at one of the field days. 

Steam technology to kill weeds was demonstrated at farms around the region last week. Terrain NRM (Terrain) has worked to pull together a range of land managers to see Blue Hand Steam's technology in action so to provide an alternative to traditional chemical control.

‪Terrain’s Steve Bailey has helped bring together Local Governments, traditional owners, farmers and community organisations to get a look at the technology first-hand. He said, "We are interested in its application for not only managing weeds in our urban areas, but in agriculture and community environmental rehabilitation projects.

"Our friends and partners could well benefit, and we all want to see an improvement to the community’s health, environment and the Great Barrier Reef by reducing chemicals if possible."

The demonstrations took place in Cairns, Innisfail and on the Tablelands with Blue Hand Steam’s Kinan Lemberg showing how to apply the steam to weeds.

Over the four field days, 85 people turned up and were impressed with the performance of the steam units, saying they were surprised at how quickly the weeds wilted and started turning brown.

A typical comment was, "Anything that can help us to reduce chemical use is welcome."

Kinan said, “It was very encouraging to see the level of interest from councils, farmers and Landcare groups. From the strength of the response it seems like we're at a tipping point with many people wanting to make the change away from a reliance of chemicals for weed control.

“Steam is a great solution which makes a lot of sense since there is absolutely no residual, it's just pure water.”

Terrain is working hard to support farmers across the Wet Tropics region in their efforts to innovate and find better ways of doing things, so to improve the health of the landscape and the quality of water running to the reef.

Steve said, “With projects like the Australian Government’s Reef Programme, we are in a position to help farmers to innovate and trial new ways of doing things.

“This technology has potential for use in the Wet Tropics and I am pleased I could help get the word out to our partners about the field days so they can consider how they might use it in their own land management projects.”

For information about the steam weeder, go to www.bluehandsteam.com.au. For more about Terrain NRM, go to www.terrain.org.au or call 07) 4043 8000.