Cereals 2017: Cultivators and drills steal the show

Cereals attracted stacks of drill and cultivator makers, from local Lincolnshire firms to global companies such as Vaderstad, Horsch and Kuhn.

Highlights included Bristow’s version of a subsoiler rape drill, Grange’s low-disturbance subsoiler toolbar and a UK debut for Maschio’s Italian-made ploughs.

Bristow adds precision to OSR drill 

Getting rapeseed into the ground with a simple subsoiler-and-seeder system might have drifted out of fashion, but Sleaford maker Bristow reckons it has added more precision to the job with a disc coulter add-on.

At the front, it uses Bristow’s standard split-level subsoiler with agitating, shallow-working A-shares to lift the topsoil without causing too much surface disturbance.

Trailing that is a row of straight-running discs to slice through surface trash ahead of the 15mm-wide, tungsten-pointed subsoiler legs to loosen things up deeper down.

Bristow’s unusual-looking tiller roller follows behind and has closely-knit, hedgehog-like spines to stir the soil to 50mm on light land, at the same time applying pinpoint pressure to fill air pockets deeper down the profile.

Bristows Multi Tooth Tiller Roll

Bristow multi-tooth tiller roller ©Jonathan Page

Four bolts attach the drilling toolbar at the back. It uses notched, angled discs to slice a near-45deg slot for the seed to sit in, in a similar way to the Weaving GD.

Both companies insist that forming a flap with the angled coulters minimises moisture loss and reduces slug damage.

But unlike the Weaving, Bristow’s discs sit at opposite angles to one another and lift a triangular-shaped wedge of soil that makes it easier for the row of flat steel rollers to close the slot afterwards.

Downward pressure is set via a spring on each pair of coulters and row width can be adjusted by sliding the assemblies along the toolbar. A Stocks seeder is fitted on top.

The 3m, five-leg model on the stand takes upwards of 150hp to pull and has an asking price of £24,000, but there are also 2.5m four-leg and 3.5m seven-leg versions available.

See also: Farmer’s home-made subsoiler-harrow smashes clay soils

Grange shows low-disturbance toolbar

Hull-based firm Grange had its new 6m low-disturbance toolbar on show.

The single-bar subsoiler set-up carries a front row of cutting discs ahead of the legs and is designed to either run alone or between the tractor and a trailed drill.

Grange 6m toolbar

Grange 6m toolbar ©Jonathan Page

It fits to the tractor’s rear arms and uses a parallelogram linkage to move the subsoiler legs in and out of work without affecting the running height of the drill.

The end sections of the toolbar pivot towards to the tractor when they are lifted out of work, which improves the turning circle and should avoid any nasty jack-knifing accidents.

Hydraulic hoses, a free-flow return and seven-pin socket run through the frame and are replicated at the back of the toolbar to save hanging a tangle of hoses across the top of the cultivator.

Power requirements are about the 280hp mark, with the subsoiler working 220mm deep, or closer to 400hp with the drill on the back.

The asking price is £24,000.

Farmet’s Fantom cultivator can dig to 150mm

Brocks used one of the working plots at Cereals to show off its growing range of Czech-made Farmet cultivation gear.

The newest face in the fleet is an 8.5m version of the Fantom, which uses shallow-working, heavy-duty tines to tear up stubbles ahead of the drill.

Farmet Fantom cultivator

Farmet Fantom cultivator ©Tim Scrivener

Commonly used to work down to 75mm – but capable of digging as deep as 150mm – it takes about 300hp to pull and uses a set of front levelling boards to tidy things up ahead of the tines.

Foot options include 270mm-wide A-shares for maximum disturbance or a 40mm-wide carbide-tipped point for less aggressive work.

Big springs sit above each tine and can handle up to 280kg at the tip, while Pro models come with extra depth wheels to allow the packer to be lifted out of work.

Prices start at £49,000.

Brocks also revealed its recent purchase of Avenue Agricultural, which has given the company access to a vast supply of wearing parts. It joins the Essex dealer’s range of Bourgault tines.

Smaller Kuhn Performer requires less horsepower

Kuhn pulled the wraps off a new 3m version of its deep-working disc and tine cultivator – the Performer.

The range was originally launched in 2013 and has been available in 4m, 5m, 6m and 7m versions for the past couple of years, but the smaller model will add options to farmers looking for a cultivator that demands less than 350hp on the front. 

Kuhn Performer

Kuhn Performer ©Tim Scrivener

It comes with two rows of 510mm independent and hydraulically adjustable discs, and four rows of  tines capable of working to a maximum depth of 350mm.

Soil-working options include the standard 80mm shares, 50mm subsoiling shares or wing shares and it uses a notched roller at the back to provide up to 225kg/m of pressure to firm down soil at the back.

Underframe clearance is 850mm and it weighs 5,000kg when fitted with the HD-Liner 700 roller.

Prices start at £46,320 for the standard version equipped with HD Liner 700 roller and non-stop hydraulic safety tines.

Maschio unveils two ploughs

Several new plough brands have been creeping into the UK market of late and Maschio is the latest to join the party.

The Italian maker’s machines are already well established in Europe, but this year’s Cereals event was the first time UK importer Opico put them in front of potential customers.

Those interested have two models to choose from – the mid-range Unico M and the heavier-built Unico L.

Maschio plough

Maschio plough ©Jonathan Page

M-spec ploughs are rated to handle up to 200hp up front and come with a maximum of five furrows, while the burlier M can handle up to 300hp and has six mouldboards a side.

Both ranges come with the option of shear bolt or hydro-pneumatic auto-reset protection, and they can be specced with either manual or hydraulic vari-width.

Bolted versions can be moved in 5cm increments from 27cm to 54cm, while the hydraulic versions have infinite on-the-move adjustment from 25cm to 55cm.

There’s also a turnover memory function that closes the plough up automatically before it flips over and returns it to its pre-set position before dropping back into work. It does this by moving the beam alignment ram rather than the vari-width linkage to avoid unnecessary wear and tear.

All Unico models have underbeam clearance of 80cm and interbody clearance of 95cm. They also have rapid-adjust skimmers that can be moved using a pin-and-hole system rather than reaching for the spanners.

Prices start at £13,603 for the Unico M and £18,961 for the Unico L.

TWB Subsoiler avoids compaction

TWB’s latest heavy-duty subsoiler was busy making sure there wasn’t any compaction to worry about on the working plots at Boothby Graffoe.

The 5m mounted machine comes with nine legs fitted in a V-formation and needs between 400hp and 500hp on the front, depending on soil type and conditions.

TWB subsoiler

TWB subsoiler ©Jonathan Page

As with all of the Sleaford maker’s machines, there is no shortage of metal in the framework. But to make its 3.2t bulk easier to lift, the chassis has been redesigned to keep most of the weight close to the tractor. This neat design means the first leg is only about half a metre from the end of the link arms.

Rather than fit a complicated auto-reset system, TWB suggests customers go for swivelling legs with shear-tab protection. This is a considerably cheaper option and TWB reckons nine times out of ten the swivelling legs will steer around an obstacle rather than break the tab.

At the rear there is a DD-style packer with 230mm inter-ring spacing that’s built in house.

It will set you back about £20,000.

Alpego launches Jet-X combi disc drill

Alpego made its first appearance at a UK agricultural show back in 2014 and since then it reckons it has sold more than 100 drills to British farmers.

A good chunk of these have been pneumatic combination disc drills, of which the Italian maker had a new model at Cereals 2017.

Alpego Jet X Rotal drill

Alpego Jet X Rotal drill ©Jonathan Page

The Jet-X is available in either 3m or 4m working widths and has a revamped frame that makes it easier to separate from the power harrow.

Up top there’s a 1,500-litre hopper that feeds a rear-mounted distribution head via the maker’s own barrel-type metering system.

Previously this would have been controlled by RDS electronics, but now Mueller has taken on the job of providing the Isobus-compatible system. There’s also a hydraulic fan and the option of radar or land-wheel metering.

Prices for a 3m machine, including a RK power harrow that is rated to 250hp, start at £34,000. This includes bout markers, but not the pre-emergence kit.

Triton side-press drill brings versatility

Triton was showing its side-press drill to the UK market for the first time – a system it claims makes it more versatile than anything else on the market.

Triton Drill

Triton Drill ©Nick Fone

The machine first featured in the pages of Farmers Weekly in June, but since then the company has decided to mount the wheels on the frame with manually adjustable links for depth control. The legs are now reversible with angled leading edges, which Triton says requires less horsepower.

Other changes to the prototype model worth noting include a rubber wedge behind the leg to give flex when hitting a hard lump and an increased model range – there are now four width options from 2.4m to 4.8m and prices start at £20,000 and run to £35,000.