Cultivator creators know all about mud

New model made for mud Joker PT features large diameter tires and adjustable rolling baskets

BRANDON — Engineers on the Horsch Joker project say they aren’t fooling when they say their new PT really is the answer for mud cultivation. 

The PT was born in the Red River Valley, where thick, heavy, sticky, gooey mud is the norm. It’s an area where ideal soil conditions are seldom seen and no machine is ever happy, according to Horsch representative Tyler Billay. 

“The new PT Joker is for guys in really wet conditions, in the Red River Valley and other areas where extreme mud is a factor,” said Billay.

The new PT is not a replacement for the older RT, he added. Horsch still makes the RT, but the PT serves a different purpose. 

“The plain fact is that the RT Joker was plugging up because we didn’t have enough room for mud to flow through the machine. The RT design had the discs too close together.,” he said.

“On the new PT, we stretched the discs out so there’s more room between the gangs. We put a row of large diameter tires in there for extra flotation and we added rolling baskets as finishing tools.”


Billay said the baskets are on hydraulics so they can be adjusted or lifted totally out of the way to avoid plugging when working in heavy mud. Gone are the rollflex leaf spring packing wheels that characterized the RT Joker. 

“The PT doesn’t have as much firming action as the RT, so I’d say seed bed preparation isn’t as good as the RT,” Billay said.

“Rolling baskets are never as good for a firm seed bed as the rollflex packers.”

He said the basket rollers may not create the best seed bed, but they can do an excellent job of incorporating crop residue, manure and fertilizer into the soil. The roller cages also do a good job of breaking up clods and levelling the soil for a final run with the RT machine. 

The 20-inch compact notched discs are mounted with an overall spacing of five inches to fill in tire ruts left by machinery. The PT is intended to operate at eight to 12 m.p.h., which gives the blades an aggressive chopping action. This warms and dries the field and introduces oxygen into the soil, Billay said. 


It would be understandable to think that high-speed small diameter discs would spell high maintenance costs, but both Joker models feature oil-filled maintenance-free bearings with the discs bolted directly to the bearing caps to help shield the bearings from damage.

The depth control console, which is located in the cab, automatically adjusts the hydraulic cylinders to keep the PT operating at the depth chosen by the operator. 

Constant hydraulic down pressure on the wings maintains even weight across the machine and allows the wings to follow the contours of the field. The sensors are located within the cylinders for better accuracy. 

“In most areas, a guy might want to buy a PT for wet years and keep his RT to get a better seed bed in more normal years, but in bad mud like the Red River Valley, a guy would probably sell his RT and just keep the PT,” Billay said. 

“There’s still a high demand for the original RT Joker, so making a trade or a swap or selling outright shouldn’t be a problem.”