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Treffler Tine Weeder to Weed and Seed on an Organic Farm

John and Halee Wepking operate Meadowlark Farm and Mill in Ridgeway, Wisconsin. This organic-certified farm spans 900 acres across 150 fields.  

In 1992, the farm transitioned to a grass-fed dairy system with a focus on rotational grazing. By 2012, it had been converted to an organic grain farm.  While Meadowlark Farm continues to grow corn and soybeans, these crops are no longer grown back-to-back. In this article, John discusses Meadowlark Farm’s rotational practices, including their process for frost-seeding clover into small grains and more.

Frost-seeding clover and interseeding alfalfa with a customized tine weeder

To build nitrogen in the soil with small grain crops, the Meadowlark team utilizes their custom 30-ft Treffler tine weeder equipped with an air seeder for frost-seeding red clover. Frost-seeding is initiated in late winter or early spring, specifically in the early morning when the ground is firm. 

We pretty much eyeball it with our frost-seeding, but compared to a four-wheeler with a spin seeder, we definitely get a more uniform seeding rate over those 30 feet.

John emphasizes that when frost-seeding with a tine weeder, the tines should gently float above the soil without scratching it. Scratching the soil when it is cold can place excessive stress on the tine weeder’s cables and springs.  He adds:

But when we are seeding alfalfa or hay into spring wheat or oats, then we are doing a weed control pass with the tine weeder and scratching the surface while also blowing the seed on.

After completing all spring seeding, John detaches the air seeder from the tine weeder to reduce the stress on the machine, especially given the hilly and curved terrain of Meadowlark farm. 

Throughout the spring, John continues to use the tine weeder for small grains, corn, and soybeans as needed.

New easy to detach seeder

John has the old type seeder that he has to detach from the machine. 

The seeder pictured here has the the new easy click on- off system making this step very easy. 

John and Halee were one of our first cold calls in the US and it’s been great to follow them and watch their farm and mill grow. The PFI Conference was one of our first events. 

What a great journey in amazing company.