Soil shaken and not stirred
Used with a power harrow
and conventional drill,
Vibratilth could be a low
cost and flexible alternative
to specialist single pass
machinery. Andy Moore
SPECIALIST one-pass cultivator drills undoubtedly have their attractions in todays economic climate – even if the initial investment can be a little daunting.
McConnel claims to have reduced this cost by introducing its new Vibratilth – a vibrating subsoiler which, by breaking up hard compact ground, enables a power harrow and conventional drill to work behind as a one-pass operation.
"The Vibratilth is an affordable single pass system which does not commit farms to using specialist drills or machinery," says Mark Alcock of McConnel. "The implement offers a certain flexibility of use in that it can be uncoupled from the combination and used as an independent subsoiler.
"This ability to use or not use the unit enables growers to pick and choose when the Vibratilth combination offers the most advantages," he says.
"For example, the machine could be used in a series of dry seasons to help conserve soil moisture and promote quicker crop establishment. In normal conditions it could form part of the usual five-year subsoiling programme."
Another key application is to employ the unit to break up compacted headlands on sugar beet or potato ground – an area where the plough often struggles.
Described by McConnel as being a progressive one-pass system, the Vibratilth is based on the established Shakeaerator model but with closer tractor coupling and the addition of a rear three point linkage for carrying a power harrow drill combination.
A low-speed high torque hydraulic motor is used to drive the eccentric weight for the vibrating mechanism rather than the pto. Excluding the eccentric weight from the pto driveline allows a straight-through shaft to the power harrow. Just how much of the vibration is conveyed to the power harrow and drill is unclear.
Other modifications to the new machine include wider delta points mounted on the 10 legs, which through 400mm (15in) spacings, claim to give full shatter across the machines 4m working width.
Working to depths of 250mm (10in), the soil structure is loosened and aerated for the power harrow to produce a finer tilth, while a packer or crumbler roller consolidates the seedbed uniformly for the drill to sow seed to the desired depth.
Horsepower requirements are 15hp to 20hp per leg – equating overall for the 4m model at 150hp to 200hp. For more road-friendly use, an eight-legged 3m version requiring 120hp to 160hp will also be introduced.
The Vibratilth, which has already seen a thorough testing in France for the past 12 months, costs £8385 for the 4m version. *