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Australian farmer invents device to reduce weeds 95 percent

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Staff Writer | June 17, 2017
A device that destroys weeds during harvest, developed by a West Australian farmer, has garnered international attention.
Ray Harrington
Australia   The device attached to a grain harvester
Experts believe that the Harrington Seed Destructor (HSD), invented by Ray Harrington, has the potential to vastly reduce the need for herbicides in grain farming.

The device, which is attached to a grain harvester, works by crushing weed seeds that are picked up by the machine, meaning that the seeds are not spread back over a paddock with chaff once harvest is complete.

Analysis by the University of Western Australia (UWA) found that the machine killed 95 percent of weed seeds.

The machine has the potential to save billions of dollars and the livelihood of struggling farmers all over the world.

Harrington said the need for the device arose when he came to the realization in the mid-2000s that weeds were going to force him to quit farming.

"I am so pleased it has come to fruit, because it could have failed. I know if we adopt weed seed management across the globe, we are going to have a chance," Harrington told Australian media on Saturday.

Steve Jefferies, managing director of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), said that weeds cost Australian farmers $2.66 billion every year.