Tillage Event 2007
Damp, solid soils provided an unsually good test for the ploughs, drills and cultivation equipment working at this year’s Tillage 2007 event at East Hanney, Oxfordshire. Nick Fone, David Cousins and James Cullimore were there.
Tillage provided one of the first opportunities to see Opico’s He-Va Sabre-Seeder in action. This cultivator/drill is about as ‘min-till’ as you can get. Designed for cereal and wheat establishment, two rows of scalloped discs cultivate a tilth and carry coulter tubes which drop seed in their shadow. A press then firms things up. The 3m version needs at least 125hp to operate and costs approximately £24,500.
Quivogne’s substantial (and quite stylish) looking Pluton one-pass disc cultivator was on show for the first time. It’s similar to the French firm’s existing Pluto but whereas that model could be split for use as either a subsoiler or discs, this is an integrated unit. On the 3m machine, the main work is done by a set of rigid tines working down to 350mm, followed by two lines of disc, a harrow and a press. Cost is £12,900.
Somerset-based Quantock Farm Machinery normally specialises in equipment like post drivers and small sprayers for livestock farmers. This autumn, though, they have branched out into cultivation equipment, bringing in a range of very affordable Polish-made equipment aimed at mixed farms or smaller arable units. The 3m Smaragd system cultivator, for instance, has seven winged subsoiler tines followed by three pairs of contra-angled discs, then a crumbler or packer roller. It costs £3100.
Though it was seen at Tillage last year, this Imants rotary cultivator + Accord seeder, which does primary and secondary cultivations and drilling all in one go, is still something a bit different from the herd. It’s a 3m, 150hp-requirement machine with the rotary cultivator working down to a typical 7-8in (18 to 20cm) to smash the plough pan and give a good depth of uncompacted soil. Workrate is about 16ha (40 acres)/day and the cost is £22,000 for the cultivator and £11,000 for the seeder.
Tillage Event 2007 on Youtube
This 4m Kockerling Quadrow cultivator is unusual because it can work in both 3m and 4m mode. Essentially, it involves no more than folding in the wings to get the narrower width, and it was made by the German company in response to increasing demand from UK customers for cultivations equipment that can be pulled behind the farm’s main tractor and its secondary one. Typically this needs a 120hp tractor in 3m mode and a 160hp one in 4m mode. Price is £23,200.
Kverneland reports an increased interest in its power-harrow drill combinations as small to medium sized farms look to replace ageing tackle. The firm say trade has been bolstered by improved cereal prizes and demand for its new Accord i-Drill is on the up. Its design sees the distribution system moved out of the hopper to increase capacity and the tank itself closer coupled to the tractor to improve weight transfer. Typical list price for a 3m rig is about £24,000.
Want to cover as many acres as possible without burning too much diesel? Lemken claims to have the answer in its 12m Solitair drill. Unlike most high-output sowing-rigs, it’s just a straightforward drill without extra discs or tines to complicate matters. A 5800-litre hopper feeds an electronic metering system which blows seed to eight individual distribution heads. This setup allows individual section shut-off much like you’d expect on a sprayer boom, which should help to avoid overlaps and misses on angled headlands. Power requirement is a modest 200hp and the big Solitair will set you back about £59,000.
Pottinger Synko 6003T
This was also the working debut for the Pottinger Synko 6003T. The 6m cultivator on show is designed as a one-pass machine. It’s coupled up via the three point linkage rather than the drawbar, giving better weight transfer on to the back wheels of the tractor and making it easier to pull and manoeuvre. Caster wheels mounted on the front gives the cultivator better stability and support on what is a fairly long piece of kit.
Tillage provided Gregoire Besson the opportunity to show off a new variant of its Discordon stubble cultivators. The format for the DXR remains much the same as before – discs, tines, more discs and a press. But it’s the auto-reset tine-carriers that have changed – operators can now swap between deep sub-soiler legs and shallower soil-loosening tines with a range of different points and wings. The 4m version on show soaks up 250hp comfortably and will set you back £37,500.
Need a one-pass drill with a cheaper set up cost? Then this could be for you.
Vaderstad’s 3m TopDown cultivator now comes equipped with a mechanical drill rather than the more sophisticated Bio drill. This gravity-fed unit proves that effective seed flow can be achieved on this 3 meter version without the need for the more expensive Bio Drill. Workrates iof 50 acres/day are achievable when powered by 200hp tractor. Total cost is £32,000.
Reco’s Sulky 6m Maxidrill
This was the UK working debut for Reco’s Sulky 6m Maxidrill. An updated version of the smaller 3m drill, this monster can achieve 5-7ha/hr behind a 200hp tractor. Uniform seed depths are achieved by strong, deep notched discs and individual suspension units allow consistent work at high speeds.
Vogel and Noot cultivation kit has been marketed in the UK by Bomford for over a year now and the company reports sales to be promising. A trailed version of the firm’s 4m Terracult was working at Tillage. It combines four rows of heavy pig-tail tines, a bank of star-wheels to mix, level and incorporate trash plus a ring-press with clod-smashers running between each ring. With a pricetag of £18,850, the 4m version requires 150-200hp.
MF-badged tillage tackle now includes the Makila stubble cultivator. Built by French manufacturer Razol, it employs three rows of sprung ripper tines, a row of lightweight levelling tines and a heavy ring press. Alternatively it can be equipped with discs or a cage-roller. The 4m unit requires 230hp to operate effectively and costs £16,000.
Knight’s M-Type Triple Press
Knight’s M-Type Triple Press was sporting the latest Canadian-made Speed-Loc high-disturbance points designed for European conditions. These are wide, winged points designed to cause maximum soil disturbance and bring up soil from lower down. They’re also designed to have low wear rates, says the firm’s Brian Knight. They cost a bit more than the standard tines and take a bit more pulling, but for many farmers they could be an attractive option.
Slatted moldboards are often seen at shows like this but have failed to achieve the market shares they enjoy in many continental countries. But German maker Rabe reckons its latest 331 slatted bodies are ideal for UK conditions. The slats are narrow at the front, but quickly widen and twist to pull the furrow slice apart. The result is better break-up of the soil and lower draft requirement, says Rabe UK’s Jason Weston.