Farmers have used propane to fuel grain dryers and building heaters among other things, but newer applications of propane are increasing in popularity. Previously I explained the growing popularity of propane powered vehicles - trucks, taxicabs and school buses to lawn mowers, farm equipment and fleet vehicles. This spring, some farmers will be using propane in another way – for thermal weed control, or flame weeding, in their fields.

Flame weeding, powered by propane, exposes weeds to hot gasses that destroy cell membranes and leave behind clean fields. Already having earned some popularity among organic farmers, this process can prove useful to conventional farmers as a new technique for combating herbicide resistance.

Hooded weed flamers are safe and effective in a variety of weather conditions and crop growth stages. And farmers are able to return to the field immediately after treatment.

Flame weeding takes about 5 to 9 gallons of propane per acre, based on tests with Agricultural Flaming Innovations’ automated, four-row weeding unit at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

According to the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), more than 865,000 farms in the United States use propane in some fashion. Farmers interested in using propane-fueled technology should visit for more details.

Talk to your local Cenex® dealer to find out about propane products and services in your area.

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