Evaluation of a thistle mower

Last changed: 06 December 2023

A tool that cuts weeds in the growing crop without damaging the crop

Project manager: Anneli Lundkvist, Department of Crop Production Ecology, SLU

Jonas Carlsson, an organic arable farmer in Blekinge, has developed a very interesting implement, a vegetation cutter/thistle mower. This cuts the weeds in the growing crop but does not damage the crop. The technology involved is mechanical and uncomplicated, which gives low manufacturing costs and a high degree of reliability. The Swedish Institute of Technology (JTI) and the farmer have together developed a prototype and carried out a preliminary assessment of the implement.

In this project we will proceed to a more comprehensive evaluation of the thistle mower. In four field trials, we will study the short-term and long-term effects of cutting weeds, in the first instance creeping thistle and sow thistle.


Control of creeping thistle and sow thistle is one of the great challenges in organic cropping. In this context, it is important to have a well-balanced crop rotation that improves the competitive ability of the crop against the weeds. However, in certain situations there is a need for direct control measures against the weed in a growing crop. The methods available are mainly weed harrowing, row hoeing and mowing.