Consolidation is the theme for this year’s Ultimate Guide to trailed combination cultivator drills – not in the soil-firming sense, but rather in the way manufacturers are sticking to tried-and-tested products.
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New model introductions are limited to a 9m addition to Lemken’s Solitair DT range, available in seed-only and seed plus fertiliser versions, and a 6m companion for Pottinger’s 5m Aerosem VT.
The Lemken machine has two rows of 465mm Heliodor serrated or wavy discs for cultivation, which can be preceded by a tyre packer or paddle levelling tines, with packer wheels and a finger tine harrow located ahead of the double-disc coulters.
The Aerosem VT mounts a Lion power harrow amidships for intense cultivation, followed by a tyre packer and 350mm Dual Disc openers.
In contrast, a number of combination cultivating drills have fallen by the wayside, including the 8m and 9m sizes in Sumo’s Deep Tillage Seeder (DTS) range, leaving 3m to 6m sizes, and the 5m model in Lemken’s 4m to 6m Solitair 25 offering.
Kuhn’s Aurock 6m drill is also out of production, survived by the longer-established 3m to 8m Espro.
Like all the drills listed, the Espro deploys different cultivating elements to create an on-the-go seedbed for the coulters to work in, operating either direct into stubbles when soil type and conditions allow, or after preliminary tillage of some sort.
Common features include paddle levelling tines mounted across the front or in the middle of the machine, two rows of discs, and packer tyres to firm the resulting tilth for the seed coulters to work in.
A front-mounted packer is available on some machines – the Kverneland U-drill, for example – and further packing devices or simple covering tines usually complete the crop establishment process.