3 September 1999

Help weed emergence and save?

Used in America for nine

years, Rekords Phoenix

Rolling Spike Chain could

help to reduce spray costs

and promote cleaner yields.

Andy Moore reports

ENCOURAGING weed and volunteer seeds to germinate post-harvest could cut the demands on future pesticide applications, reasons Rekord.

And to help with this germination process, the firm has introduced to the UK a trailed Rolling Spike Chain designed to create a mini-tilth for the seeds to root into.

The result, says Rekord, is a quicker and fuller emergence of weeds and volunteers, enabling growers to make a greater impact on weed populations before autumn drilling commences.

Built by Canadian manufacturer Phoenix, Rolling Spike Chain comprises two outer gangs of rolling spikes each mounted on frames attached to a main body and set to work at an angle to the direction of travel. Mounted at the rear of the implement is a narrow rolling spike to cover unworked ground left between the two larger gangs. A hydraulic pump-driven winch moves the gangs along the centre of the main body at set positions, so varying their angle of attack.

During transport, the three rolling spikes are hydraulically raised from work position and scissor folded into the main body. A series of ratchet straps support the flex in the rolling spikes.

The implement is supported on four work/transport wheels – two castors at the end of each gang and two at the back of the main body.

Due to the implements lightweight design and shallow 4cm (1.5in) work depth, power requirements are relatively low.

A 10m (30ft) model can, says Rekord, be drawn by a 100hp tractor and a 20.4m (61ft) version, by a 185hp machine.

Working angle is adjusted to vary the extent of attack aggression. For scarifying stubbles, the gangs are set at a steeper 45í angle, while a less severe 30í angle is considered more suitable when working behind the plough.

Shallow penetration and lightweight design also enables the implement to work speeds from 6 to 15mph.

With regard to wear characteristics, Rekord says each rolling spike unit is capable of cultivating up to 28,340ha (70,000) acres before parts need to be renewed.

"Used as soon as a field has been cleared, the emergence of weeds can, in most circumstances, be sprayed off about three weeks after combining," says Will Stanton of Rekord. "Earlier weed eradication allows growers to get on with cultivations sooner avoiding inclement weather at drilling dates."

Working widths range from 10.2m (30ft) to 20.4m (61ft), with prices starting at £11,935. &#42