Rain-soaked soils bought live demonstrations to a standstill at this year’s Tillage Live event (16 September) at Croft Farm, Darlington.
But manufacturers made the most of a break in the weather to show off their latest cultivation kit in a series of static displays.
Great Plains reveals zero-till Saxon
Great Plains has built on the success of the Centurion min-till drill by launching a zero-till equivalent that shares most of its component parts.
The big difference with the Saxon is the wavy discs, which work in a very narrow band and leave the ground between the rows completely untouched.
That means it can cope with the high-trash conditions associated with drilling into cover crops without inverting too much soil.
See also: Great Plains expands staff and range
For extra flexibility the Saxon’s low-disturbance discs can also be swapped with the Centurion’s concave disc section, so growers can use the cultivating discs to stir up weed seeds in the autumn before drilling directly into the cover crop in the spring.
The 3m zero-till set-up will take just 80hp to pull and costs £42,500.
The extra set of 3m cultivating discs costs £2,000.
Kuhn Espro will save on power
Kuhn was due to give its latest min-till drill a run-out at Tillage. It’s designed to sap less power than its rivals using a natty arrangement of packer wheels that reduces the drill’s rolling resistance.
A fully-loaded 6m version comes with 40 wheels, though half of those are part of an optional front packer that will be of real use only to those working directly into ploughed ground. It also comes with a £10,000 bill, which takes the asking price close to the £100,000 mark.
The cultivation element is provided by two rows of 510mm discs, which stir the soil and bury trash down to 100mm.
The mid-mounted press wheels are set in a staggered formation. Kuhn reckons the design avoids forming a bow wave of soil, which means it uses less power than some of its rivals. The 6m version starts at £87,000 and will need 200hp on the tow bar.
Rubin 12’s big discs give flexibility
This summer’s catchy weather has forced many growers to make last‑minute changes to their cultivation plans.
Lemken reckons that will see disc harrows such as the Rubin 12 prove their worth. The big discs offer plenty of flexibility because they’re able to move all the soil across the working width no matter whether they’re working at 50mm or 200mm.
That should ensure a good weed seed chit, but the 736mm discs also make it capable of chopping its way through tall maize stubbles at speeds of up to 18kph.
Lemken reckons that the discs are cheaper to run than tine-based equivalents and are better able to move soil at shallower depths. The only catch is the price – a 3m tined tool might cost £9,000, while the Rubin is closer to £19,000.
Plowman Brothers offers variable depth
Yorkshire-based engineering firm Plowman Brothers is now offering a system that varies subsoiling depth automatically to hit different levels of compaction across a field.
The kit, designed by Soyl, uses information from soil conductivity maps to work out how compaction depth varies from one end of a field to the other.
Once different zones have been identified, Soyl experts dig pits in each of the different ones, work out where the compaction is and create a map that is uploaded to the box in the tractor cab.
Then, using a sensor mounted on the depth control ram, the system adjusts subsoiler depth to hit the compaction at the correct level.
The system is available on Plowman Brother’s range of Omni-Lift subsoilers and prices are yet to be confirmed.
A 3.5m, five-leg Omni-lift subsoiler with Cam Lift legs – that can be quickly pulled out of work without using any spanners – costs £17,500.
The price for Soyl to create a soil conductivity map with its penetrometer unit is £10/ha.
Proforge Inverta Max offers size and strength on a budget
Heavy discs are usually a pricey addition to any tillage set-up, but AgriLinc’s Eastern European-built Proforge Invertamax rigs shouldn’t break the bank.
The trailed units weigh in a 6t for the 5m version, 7t for the 6m and both use a twin row of 620mm discs. These can work to a depth of 125mm and there’s a 600mm packer to consolidate the seed-bed.
Folding side wings put the transport width at less than 3m and air brakes are included in the deal.
Prices start at £21,750 for the 5m version and 6m ones come in at a £2,000 premium.
Buyers can also opt for a lighter-weight set of Inverta discs that are very similar to the well-known Horsch Joker.
These have two rows of 560mm discs and can be specced with hydraulic levelling boards on the front.
The 5m trailed version costs £16,400 and the 6m set is £18,450. All Inverta discs run on SKF sealed bearings.
Hydraulic version of Incorporator
Philip Watkin’s Incorporator disc cultivator has been a popular seller since its launch a couple of years ago, with scores of farmers using it to get a weed seed chit.
Now there’s a new 4m, hydraulic-folding mounted version that weighs in at about 3t and has two rows of 510mm discs. These hang off rubber mounts and run on sealed bearings that don’t need to be greased.
At the back Watkins has opted for a Guttler spiked roller to help chop and incorporate trash and smash up clods. However, smaller models usually come fitted with a Flexi-coil.
List price is £15,000 and the trailed version is £20,000. In total there are 11 models in the range, starting with a 3m mounted and going up to a 12m trailed monster with 88 discs.