Renewable Farming

Contact Organics launches website for its enviro-friendly burndown herbicide

Our longtime friend Howard Vlieger of Maurice, IA this week announced a new website for the soil-friendly Weed Terminator 20 which he has been instrumental in developing for several years.

January 15, 2021 — The market-ready version of this contact burndown is intended for landscape, garden and municipal markets. A formulation for large acreages, such as terminating cover crops, remains under development. 

The active ingredient, acetic acid, gains extra weedkilling intensity when tank-mixed with its companion product, a proprietary surfactant labeled Boost. This “secret sauce” has taken several years to create and test. The formulation research and much of the testing was done by a research and development firm in Australia, along with many trials on Howard Vlieger’s farm and other cooperators’ farms.

Part of the Contact Organics home page

The product is marketed in Australia under the same brand. The Aussie version of the firm’s website says:

“Following 30 years of research and development into how we can combine science with nature, Contact Organics’ fast-acting and environmentally-friendly weed control has finally emerged onto the Australian market.

“Contact Organics’ revolutionary herbicides work by stripping away the waxy outer layer of the plant, to enter and desiccate the plant to kill it. Our products are formulated to be beneficial to soil microbiology and fertility, so you can simultaneously kill weeds, improve soil health and alleviate residue concerns.”

An aggressive surfactant is essential to multiply the desiccating power of acetic acid.  Howard and the Australian research team developed their own surfactant, which contains special oils and other ingredients which enable the combination product to demolish the leaf cuticle. This leads to rapid desiccation. The new Contact Organics website shows a brief time-lapse video dramatizing how the combination of Weed Terminator 20 and Boost shrink and destroy a weed leaf’s protective cuticle. The microscopic image shows the edge view of a weed’s leaf cuticle. 

For a video overview of how to apply the combination weedkiller, click on the “Videos” drop-down tab under the top banner link: “Media” This link will take you to the page with two instructional videos

Background note: Our family company, Renewable Farming LLC, participated with Howard Vlieger — starting in 2016 —  in some of the original field research which led to development and approval of the Weed Terminator and Boost products.