Rutted fields, expanding sloughs | Pro-Till 40 able to mix heavy trash into ground at high speeds
REGINA — There was a time when “till” became a four letter word in Western Canada. In the rural southern prairies, the word kept company with other seldom-heard words such as rain, plow and cash.
But now the return of rain has dug up new demand for tillage tools.
For three years Paul Degelman’s company has worked toward a tillage tool that can cover a lot of ground in a hurry, as well as handle the heavy trash that western Canadian crops can leave behind.
The Regina company recognized the need for limited amounts of tillage after several wet seasons in a row.
But in the years before the rains returned, many prairie farmers re-duced their machinery lineups to include little more than a minimum or zero tillage seeding unit, a sprayer, swather and combines.
Droughts and continuous cropping made digging the ground a rare event.
“We saw the need. Farmers were asking for some new technology, not a traditional cultivator,” he said.
“Not for every acre, not for every field, every year. But when you have sloughs growing outwards or rutted up or compacted headlands, then it gives you the ability to deal with those acres,” he said.
“Problems such as sprayer tracks and heavy residue levels have created problems in need of a solution that fits into a minimum tillage environment,” said Degelman.
His solution is the company’s Pro-Till 40, released this past summer.
Using two ranks of 20 inch, shallow dished discs, mounted to independent, rubber-spring mounted arms, the machine mixes residue into the ground at speeds above eight miles per hour.
Spaced on five inch centres, the Pro-Till moves dirt first one direction and then back. The 40 foot wide unit is effective at high field speeds of 12 or more miles per hour, says Degelman.
It’s a heavy tool at 33,000 pounds and needs 475 to 500 horsepower to move it rapidly through the field.
“We put a lot of iron into this thing to keep in the soil in the dry ground of the fall,” said Degelman about the 7/8 inch and 1/2 inch wall tubing used in the frame.
The frame is in three sections and has a fore and aft flotation system that allows vertical movement from the hitch. The unit rolls around on high flotation, 24 inch wide BKT made rubber, 46 inches high.
Discs are supported by sealed double ball bearing hubs. When the discs encounter a rock, four Rosta-made rubber springs that sit between the square double walls of the mount and the frame allow the shank to move up and out the way and return it to its natural position.
A standard heavy duty cage roller packer that feathers the soil and firms it, readies the ground for spring planting.
The packer’s shafts are 1.5 inches in diameter and helically mounted to ensure the soil is smooth after the discs level it. An Otico semi-pneumatic rubber roller packer is also available.
A notched disc is available for heavy soils. In transport the machine folds forward to 20 feet and is 12 and half feet high.
For more on the Pro-Till 40, visit producer.com for video.