Sound basis for stubble cultivation

Spaldings has revealed that it plans to widen its implement product range to include disc- and tine-based stubble cultivators.

Best known as a supplier of tools and replacement wearing parts for various types of farm equipment, the Lincoln-based firm currently only markets tined grass-harrows, flail-toppers and its Flatlift sub-soil looseners as whole machines.

However, following the growing interest in low cost crop establishment the company has decided to take a further step in this direction.

“With the various modular Flatlift components we’ve already got the basis of a shallow stubble cultivator,” points out marketing manager Alastair Ramsay.

“We’re currently working out a way to deliver a disc-type cultivator using the units already available for our sub-soilers.

Hopefully it will be ready for Cereals in June.”

2005 saw big growth in the popularity of sub-soil looseners being used as tools to establish crops of oilseed rape and grass.

So, like a number of other manufacturers, Spaldings has altered its Flatlift units to make them more suitable for this task.

The three soil-loosening legs work across a 3m bout and are followed by a row of five pairs of scalloped discs which throw soil left and right to break up clods and produce a tilth.

Hovering directly behind this is a bank of four seeder outlets.

Fed by a ground-wheel metered Horstine air-seeder, these distribute seed in bands across the width of the machine.

The packer roller that follows this is heavier than before and, as such, is claimed to be more effective in consolidating soil in dry conditions and ensuring good soil-to-seed contact.

“Farmers using this establishment method for oilseed rape have been able to reduce their cultivation costs from nearly £55/acre to under £15/acre,” insists Mr Ramsay.

“They’re also discovering significant agronomic benefits as the crop’s tap root is able to penetrate deeper into the loosened soil.

Of course broadcasting behind the combine is cheap but it can’t offer these sort of yield benefits and is not nearly as reliable.”

He is also keen to point out the cost advantages of using three sub-soiler legs across 3m.

“Where other manufacturers may use four or even five legs, we’ve just got the three.

This cuts down on the power requirement and of course wearing metal.

“Replacing points, wings and shares on the Flatlift works out to be 40p/acre cheaper than any other manufacturer because of this.”