Vaderstad is trialling a prototype 3m cultivator/box-drill combination in the UK.
Apparently designed to cater for the smaller grower interested in reducing cultivation and establishment costs, the tractor-mounted Carrier Drill brings a disc-based cultivator together with a box-type drill.
Two banks of rubber-damped serrated discs provide the primary cultivation effect. Seed is then broadcast in the wake of each disc by rubber coulter boots running just above the soil surface.
A steel press/packer roll is responsible for consolidation and the machine’s depth control.
This is adjusted from the cab by hydraulic lift rams and a consistent return point is set by fitting collars around the piston.
Seed metering is performed by a set-up very similar to that of standard Vaderstad Rapid box-drills.
Turbine-shaped roller-wheels draw seed from the full-width 1100-litre hopper and drop it down individual coulter-tubes.
A steplessly adjustable ground-wheel driven gearbox allows seed-rates to be varied from 2kg/ha to 300kg/ha.
The Carrier Drill can be used for crop establishment or solely as a cultivation tool.
One or two passes directly behind the combine can be used to kick-start straw breakdown and encourage weed and volunteer seeds to germinate.
The next pass can then be used to knock out these unwanted seedlings and sow the following crop.
Vaderstad says this approach has the potential to significantly cut growing costs, but points out that it requires close attention to avoid pitfalls.
For minimum tillage to be successful from the start fields need to be level and the soil structure needs to be in good condition.
With this in place the Swedish firm claims that the labour, fuel and capital savings of such as system can add up to 19/ha (7.70/acre) when compared with a conventional plough-based approach.
Prices for the unit, which will be on sale shortly, start from £14,200. Optional following harrow, electronic control box and bout markers are available.