Weed control of thistle in organic farming with CombCut

Thistle is a major problem in (organic) grain production (such as in wheat and rye). CombCut was actually first developed by the Swedish organic grower Jonas Carlsson to control thistles in his own (wheat) fields in the south east of Sweden. Now the machine has been developed a lot more to also work very well with other coarse and / or branched stiff weeds. Today also herbicide resistant weeds are becoming more and more common so also traditional farmers are getting more interested in CombCut. So CombCut is not only for organic farming.

Due to that CombCut was first developed for thistle control most of the research done on CombCut`s efficiency has focused on thistle. The first scientific trials were set up in Sweden and later also in Norway. These trials where conducted by independent universities and research stations.

The basic idea for the CombCut is patent. By putting one knife together with a small metal bar like a pair of scissors, but with an opening in the rear part, slender cereal leaves slip through unharmed while coarser or branched weeds are cut, since the opening is to narrow for them. Its therefore possible to comb the crop and cut weeds. CombCut makes it possible to cut weeds down in unbranched crops like e.g. cereals, grassland and corn cutting coarser weeds like thistles

Cutting at flower stem extension before the flower buds open to prevent seed spread. Repeated cutting at the same growth stage over several years may “wear down” the thistles. When you cut the thistles the crop will also suppress them giving the crop a competitive advantage with increased yield as a result.