With the Cereals Event having become the key shop window for arable equipment, it is little wonder that manufacturers are preparing to show their latest ideas for more cost-effective crop mechanisation. Peter Hill previews developments
The introduction of combination implements that loosen soil at depth while also preparing the surface for drilling has been one of the key developments in arable crop cultivation in recent years.
It developed out of the earlier trend for high speed shallow disc cultivation, the combination implements epitomised by the Sumo Trio are now produced in a number of similar but different guises – as well as in sizes to suit different levels of available horsepower.
Slim tines up-front break through plough and cultivation pans or simply take out wheelings compaction to encourage improved drainage and enable vigorous oilseed rape plants realise their potential in terms of rooting depth as they search for nutrients and, in particular, moisture.
At the same time, two rows of discs – each carried on individual drop arms with rubber suspension elements – contribute to the seed bed preparation process. They also ensure a level finish behind the semi-subsoiling tines to help achieve even seeding depth.
A packer brings up the rear, consolidating the resulting tilth to conserve moisture and giving following implements – whether a cultivator or the seed drill – a bit more “bite”.
Typically produced in 2.5m and 3m sizes, growers have inevitably called for larger sizes as available power has increased.
The response from Cousins of Emneth evident at the Cereals Event is a choice of bigger versions of the Patriot cultivator in trailed format sizes of 4.2m, 5.4m and 6.4m, all folding to within 3m.
Wider-working trailed versions of the Cousins Patriot soil loosening disc cultivator come with 10-stud braked axles and 600mm wide flotation tyres.
These folding frame machines follow the same established layout: soil loosening legs at 600mm centres, followed by two rows of discs and then the company’s patented Razor Ring press.
The rigid loosening legs can be set up to work between 15cm and 40cm deep, with Cousins own “Quickfoot” one-piece bolted points fitted as standard. Winged “Level Lift” points giving greater soil heave and other designs are also available.
Hydraulic adjustment of the disc sub-frames make it easy to alter their working depth without affecting the depth of the tines, as well as the depth of the gangs relative to each other to suit prevailing soil conditions.
Cousins have developed a larger diameter Razor Ring packer for the new sizes: at 81cm diameter, the “HL” version is 20cm bigger – and also heavier – with the over-sized 61cm axle tube designed to work in contact with the ground.
This should allow the new packer to support a high load while maintaining consistent depth control and leaving a firmed, level and “weatherproof” corrugated finish.
McConnel is taking a similar path with its variation on this theme, the Discaerator, which places two rows of 50cm diameter discs and a packer behind the company’s low-draft Shakaerator soil loosening tines.
The 4m trailed folding model planned for the Cereals Event will cater for larger tractors and as the likely precursor to wider versions of the implement.
McConnel Discaerator places Shakaerator low-draft tines ahead of two rows of discs and a packer.
The Discaerator was introduced only last year in mounted format with a working width of 3m and a choice of five- or seven-leg configurations protected by either a hydraulic auto reset mechanism or a four-life knock-through shear pin.
Modifications for this year in light of field experience include re-designed packer scraper bars, bigger diameter packer arm pivot pins, revised configuration of the second row of discs for better material flow and trash incorporation, and fully-guarded wiring for the lights.
A useful addition is the 100mm of adjustment that allows the packer to be moved away from the discs so that seeder tubes can be added – but without permanently adding to the length of the implement.
The Discaerator 4000 will have a similar layout but with a backbone chassis carried on rear-mounted transport wheels and centre-split folding frame to reduce overall width to 3m or less for road travel.
Amazone’s Catros is a plain high-speed, shallow disc cultivator designed for initial or secondary stubble cultivation without deeper soil loosening.
The Catros 6001-2T destined for the Cereals Event is one of three semi-mounted sizes (4m, 5m and 6m) that for transport runs on wheels carried on an arching frame with a parallel action to lift the implement level.
The idea is to enable a tractor of sufficient power to pull the implement on light to medium soils but which does not have to be heavy enough to lift it on the three-point linkage. The transport wheels can also be deployed for headland turns if necessary.
Väderstad’s similar Carrier disc cultivator gets a new packer option from the Cereals Event.
The rubber roller – which is also available for the TopDown stubble cultivator – is said to give the same degree of consolidation as the standard steel roller. But its profile is shaped to work more effectively on loose, puffy soils, together with low rolling resistance and a more favourable surface finish on light ground.
Proposed design for the trailed folding version of the McConnel Discaerator.