Thermal Weed Control Technology Travels Across Michigan

Lansing, MI. (July 20, 2006) – The Batchen Stinger, an innovative propane-powered technology, was introduced to propane dealers and growers across Michigan this past week with a demonstration at a Northern Michigan orchard and an appearance at the 27th annual Michigan Ag Expo.

Kevin Kobbins, chairman of the Agricultural Research Committee for the Michigan Propane Gas Association, demonstrated the Stinger’s ability to control weed growth to propane dealers from across the state at a field test on July 17. The demonstration at the Amos Farm in Williamsburg was part of the Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA) annual summer conference.

“Field demonstrations allow growers to see the Stinger in person, and this test in particular was an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of this propane-powered technology to dealers across Michigan,” Kobbins said. “Our goal with field demonstrations is for Stinger information to reach more regions in order to help more farmers.”

The Stinger was also on display July 18-20 at the Michigan Ag Expo at Michigan State University (MSU), the largest agricultural equipment expo in the state. The Ag Expo draws thousands of visitors from across the Midwest and Canada to the MSU campus to see demonstrations and exhibits featuring the latest university research, equipment, and vehicles as well as other products and services of interest to farmers and agribusinesses.

The Stinger’s travels throughout Michigan, as well as the five-month long research project, are sponsored by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), in conjunction with the MPGA.

The Batchen Stinger provides growers with an environmentally friendly and flexible weed control option. The Stinger applies intense steam that vaporizes the moisture in a weed’s cells and disrupts photosynthesis. A weed cannot survive without the nutrients provided by photosynthesis and is eliminated within three days of the steam application.

The weed control technology is designed for use in vineyards and orchards and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as an authorized organic production practice, along with other propane-powered weed control technologies.

Thermal weed control does not require a significant amount of equipment or the special handling procedures that come with chemical herbicides. Farmers can reenter the field immediately following treatment and there is no need to delay harvest. Weeds are not able to develop resistance to the extreme heat generated by propane. And finally, propane is insoluble and nontoxic, so it’s not harmful to soil or water.

PERC, an organization committed to the development of new propane-powered technology, played a key role in transferring the patented Stinger technology to the United States and supporting demonstrations such as these.

“We’re excited that a propane-powered machine is able to provide organic weed control for growers,” said PERC Director of Agricultural Programs Mark Leitman. “One of our main goals at PERC is to aid the agricultural industry through new propane uses. We’re proud to see that the Stinger provides both economical and environmental benefits for growers.”

 For more information on the Stinger, contact Kevin Kobbins at (231) 932-8725 in Michigan; Kevin Smith at (805) 238-7809 in California; or visit or

PERC’s vision in agriculture is that by 2010, the agricultural industry will recognize propane as a preferred energy source offering exceptional value. This value is achieved through a unique combination of product benefits, including cost-effectiveness, efficiency and productivity, reliability, portability, and environmental friendliness.

For more information on PERC and its programs to promote the safe and efficient use of propane
in agriculture, call (202) 452-8975 or visit