How to Weed 500 Acres, Organically

by | Jun 9, 2021 | Sustainable Farming

Achieving Organic Status

Our Virgin Coconut oil is certified organic and has 3 organic logos from 3 different jurisdictions: Fiji Organic, Australia Certified Organic, and USDA Organic.

Behind all these logos is a huge amount of work to convince these certifying organisations that you comply with the rules and regulations to be rightfully certified. There are many activities and methods that are prohibited, and proof is required that none of the prohibited methods have been used. This requires meticulous record keeping of everything that is done throughout the process, from ground preparation through planting, harvesting, and product packaging. Every year organic producers are audited by a certified person who represent the organization you are certified by.

A major issue we face along with many farmers is the proliferation of weeds in fields of newly planted coconut palms. With 500 acres of seedlings to care for this is a a major task ! You can not use livestock such as horses as natural lawnmowers as they will eat the leaves of the young palms. And obviously, being an organic product, you can not spray with chemicals. Manually weeding is an option, but this is very costly and exceedingly slow. A “slasher” – a rotating blade drawn by tractor – is quicker, but at 5 to 8 acres a day is still not quick enough.

So what to do?

Roller Crimper Rescue !

After some research online and industry magazines we finally came across the “Roller Crimper”. A Roller Crimper is basically a big iron pipe full of water to make it extremely heavy, with some flat iron welded onto the sides.

Growing Pineapples on Taveuni as a cash crop
Organic weeding with a roller crimper 2
The roller crimper is pulled by tractor at a good speed first one way across the plantation, and across the other. The heavy metal pipe rolls the weed downs for the flat iron to cut it, rather like a razor shaving whiskers !

The result is that the cut weeds lay flat and die off giving the good grass underneath a chance to grow and eventually take over. The rotting weeds also act as a mulch on the grass and help maintain soil health.

So, two problems solved in one and double the happiness !

Growing Pineapples on Taveuni as a cash crop