The arrival of a new model, coupled to Britain’s increasingly unpredictable weather, could help nudge one Dutch company’s spader cultivation techniques towards the mainstream cultivation market

And though the spader travels at a relatively steady 6kph, its ability to completely mix the soil down to a depth of 250-300mm means that, with a seed drill fitted, it can have the whole job done in a single pass.

So far, sales in the UK have tended to involve beet, potato and vegetable growers. The machines have also proved to be particularly good at burying the vast quantities of straw used by carrot growers (typically involving 40 Hesston bales/ha) in a single pass. However, purchases by mainstream wheat and rape farmers have been slow.

That could be about to change, says Richard Campey from Cheshire importer JC Machinery. He points out that if the current unpredictable autumn weather patterns continue, farmers could find that traditional multi-pass till-and-drill systems are taking too long to establish crops in time.

Spaders, he says, with their ability to produce a good seedbed in one pass, could actually get the job done quicker than a conventional system. With the main spades rotating at 90rpm and the rear spiral rotor running at a slightly faster 104rpm, the system gives 30-40mm of nice soil to give crops a good start.

Workrate is typically 13ha/day (32-33 acres/day)

New 48 model

The existing Imants 47 spader model will be replaced early next year by the Imants 48, says the company. The new model loses the characteristic tall, triangular shape of the existing model and replaces it with a rounded machine that looks rather more like a conventional cultivator.

There are some big changes to the mechanism too. On the 47, drive passed to the main rotor (which does the heavy moving) and rear spiral rotor (which produces a fine tilth for the seeder unit) via a large chain.

The chain system has been replaced by a set of gears to reduce maintenance and lower the height of the machine. At the same time, the machine is capable of handling tractors with power outputs ranging from 130hp to 250hp.

The current machine has seven banks of arms, with four spades in each. The new one has six banks, but the four spader arms have been replaced by six and the number of grease nipples has gone down to four. Most importantly, the forward speed has gone up 10% to 7kph.

The company says that 3m and 3.6m models will be available. Two types of spade will be offered, a regular one for most soils and a differently shaped one for clay soils that can be quickly changed over. There’s also an option to replace the usual spiral rotor with a power harrow unit. This secondary tool is designed to level the surface, incorporate organic material and consolidate the seedbed.

The company says that the machine is suitable for farms from 100ha to 600ha and with tractors from 130-250hp. Prices have not been announced yet.

Imants 480

Model

Working width

Working depth

No of spades

Ideal speed

HP needed

Maximum HP

Weight

48SX300H

300cm

15-35cm

36

7k/h

140

250

2,720kg

48SX360H

360cm

15-35cm

42

7k/h

180

250

3,600kg

Imants Shockwave

Sales of grassland aerators have shot up in the last three years as farmers have come to appreciate the importance of loosening up soils that have become compacted by machinery and livestock. However, sports turf owners and contractors have been tackling this compaction for many years, says Richard Campey, and machines like the Imants Shockwave can do an effective job at loosening soil down to a decent depth to improve drainage and make life easier for grass roots to grow.

There are two heavy duty Shockwaves with 2.25m and 2.75m working widths that will relieve compaction down to a depth of 38cm. The 27 blades are each 20mm wide and spacings vary according to number of blades and width.

Power requirement is 70-100hp and you’ll need a tractor with creep gears. Speed is steady at 0.5-1.5kph.

Cost of the 2.25m unit is £11,800 and the 2.75m one is £22,250.