A recent innovation in the world of farming has caught the Internet's collective eye — tractors outfitted with flamethrowers allow farmers to get rid of weeds and pests efficiently.
Modern farmers have a hard time growing enough food while avoiding harmful pesticides and chemicals. Strangely enough, the healthy solution also appears to be the coolest, as organic farms are now adopting flamethrower tractors. The practice is apparently called "flame weeding," and it makes agriculture look a lot more exciting.
Of course, there is more to flame weeding than simply lighting a field on fire and hoping for the best. As shown in videos, the practice requires a lot of precision, and any slight error could be catastrophic. The unusual equipment for the job comes from companies like Flame Engineering, which make the highly specialized machine. Flame Engineering's website explains how the process works.
"Flame weeding is what we like to call a 'slow kill.' Essentially, you are destroying cell structure in the plant leaf," the company wrote. "The weed will no longer put energy toward growth (photosynthesis) taking the kill though the root system."
"YES, flame weeding will kill the roots too! Even on big weeds (over 6″), you will see a stunting effect and even a kill within a few days, depending on how established the root system is and how long the plant was exposed to heat," the explanation concluded.
Still, the result is undeniably spectacular to look at, as many on social media have learned. The video above has circulated widely, along with a few other, inspiring hope to some that corporate farming will someday phase out pesticides entirely.
Exactly, and individual farmers don't have to own it, cooperatives can own one and rent it out, this will help reduce cost— #BeardedFarmer | The Tractor 🔌 (@Sum_Farmer) June 8, 2018
"Individual farmers don't have to own it," one Twitter user suggested, "cooperatives can own one and rent it out, this will help reduce costs."
The practice has its opponents among farmers and agricultural experts as well. Some have questioned its efficacy, wondering if there is enough data to support widespread adoption.0comments
"I don't really get how this will deal with [armyworms] though," wrote agricultural consultant Aina Tolulope. "Will it be used before or after the infestation? We all know that [armyworm] starts affecting the crops like 2 weeks+ after planting. Won't this technique burn off the crop from the entire farm?"
I don't really get how this will deal with amyworm though. Will it be used before or after the infestation? We all know that amyworm starts affecting the crops like 2weeks+ after planting. Won't this technique burn off the crop from the entire farm?— Aina Tolulope (@Ainatolulope1) June 10, 2018
Whether flamethrowers will join the ranks of other common farming implements remains to be seen. In the meantime, videos like the one above may inspire the next generation of farmers.