Cousins of Emneth displayed a prototype leg for its V-Form sub-soiler designed for minimum surface disturbance when establishing oilseed rape.

Developed with agronomy specialist Hutchinsons, the mini soil-loosening tine looks like a standard winged leg, but shrunk to a quarter of its original size.

The reasoning behind this is that although conventional subsoilers might provide the ideal growing conditions for OSR, the surface heave they create stimulates weed seeds to germinate – blackgrass in particular.

By limiting this with a low disturbance leg, weed issues are lessened and chemical inputs reduced, a particularly important factor given that the issue of pesticides in watercourses is increasingly coming under the spotlight.

Cousins envisage customers swapping between conventional and ‘mini’ V-Form legs, depending on the job being done. Once in production, it is expected that they will cost significantly less than the standard tine.

On a 5-leg V-Form with these new tines working at 4-5 inches, power requirement is reckoned to have dropped from some 250hp to just 120hp.

Two other key features of the new machine are straight discs that cut a slot ahead of the tines, and a press with pairs of rings that slide on the axle to account for varying leg spacings.

This year the prototype has been used to establish a number of field-scale trials on a range of soil types.