On test: Four-furrow Ovlac ploughs

Since arriving on UK shores in 2012, Ovlac has made a surprisingly large dent in a plough market that has been dominated in recent years by the likes of Kverneland, Kuhn and Lemken.

The Spanish company’s ploughs have been in production since 1936 and are sold through Honiton-based dealer Halse, which took on the sales job after the demise of Reco in 2015.

See also: Six-furrow plough round-up

Due to the concrete-like conditions found in Spain, many of the plough components are constructed from Hardox steel, including the legs and head stock.

There are now over 100 Ovlac ploughs working in the UK, with farmers increasingly tempted by the simple design and appealing prices of the KV lookalikes.

AM-4 160

AM-4 160 © Jonathan Page

SM-4 160

SM-4 160 © Jonathan Page

Headstock and beam

Choosing a four-furrow model opens up four headstock options. Our test implements – mated to the New Holland T5.120 and Fendt 312 featured in last week’s issue – were fitted with the second smallest of those headstocks, which sits on a 110mm shaft with a 100x150mm main frame rated to 160-horse.

Lower-spec M models have manually adjusted working widths, which are altered by shifting the position of the support bolt into a different hole on the beam.

In total there are four furrow width options that increase by 2in each time.

V-badged models gets hydraulic vari-width, which adjusts each furrow in a 12in to 20in range.

Oscillating drawbar

To improve ploughing consistency, the company has developed a novel self-adjusting lower link arrangement that allows the implement to react to the different sideways pressures exerted on the mouldboards and landsides.

It uses a horizontal bar between the tractor’s link arms, which pivots through a central point by up to 20 degrees and leaves the plough to align itself automatically without undoing the tractor’s check chains.

In road mode two pins lock the free-moving bar in place to stop the plough swinging from side to side, and the system also locks up once it’s lifted at the end of each bout prior to the turnover.

The over-swing turnover mechanism needs a decent amount of space to avoid catching the disc and wheel on the ground, which our model with the rear positioned wheel did a couple of times during our test.

Though it might be useful on bigger models for getting tight to the hedge (which itself is a rare thing these days), on a four-furrow plough it leaves the wheel too close to the headstock and means the working depth is less consistent.

Mouldboards

There are six 8mm-thick case-hardened mouldboard options in total. If you’re familiar with KV’s mouldboard numbering then the equivalent Ovlac board is double the number, so 28s in KV colours are badged 56 for Ovlac.

The 124cm long bodies – 140cm from share tip – should mean there’s no problem in forming an even finish, even if the tractor is shod on chunky 710mm tyres.

However, we thought the slatted option coped better with stickier soils. There was little distinguishable difference in power demands, but slats turned over fewer monster slabs and left the soil with a crumblier look once finished.

We also favoured the notched rear coulter disc, which cut neatly and left a cleaner edge through trashy conditions than the straight-edged version, which had a tendency to bung up.

Protection systems

Our fairly easy going ground conditions didn’t allow us to fully test the protection systems. One plough has a standard 3t shear-bolt release system – more than capable of doing a decent job in all but the most gnarly conditions – while the other used the mid-spec leaf spring option.

The fancier top-spec hydraulic non-stop reset can adjust the pressure to suit conditions and avoid bringing stones to the surface, but it costs £3,000 more than sticking with standard shear-bolts.

There’s a raft of extras including share knifes, landside extension and different skim boards to suit maize or high trash conditions.

Ovlac plough

 

 

Model

SM-4  160

AM-4 160

Furrows

4

4

Width adjustment

Manual

Manual

Protection system

Shear-bolt

Spring auto reset

Point to point

85cm

85cm

Underbeam clearance

72cm

72cm

Front furrow

Manual

Hydraulic

Mouldboards

Standard – 56

Slatted

Depth wheel

Rear mounted

Mid mounted

Weight

1,190kg

1,410kg

HP requirement

120 – 160

120 – 160

Price

£12,923

£16,673

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