Video: There’s a new Joker in the deck

Mud making you cry? This cultivation tool might make you smile if you’re heading out to saturated fields

The Joker RT, with its unique steel spring packer wheels, was touted as the ultimate mud cultivation machine when it was introduced in 2009.

However, Horsch has now brought out a radically different Joker model called the PT, also touted as the ultimate mud cultivation machine.

Everett Boyd farms at Boissevain, Man., an area plagued by wet conditions for the past two decades.

Producers in the region have been trying numerous techniques in their battle with mud.

Boyd bought a 30 foot Joker RT in the spring of 2013, thinking it might be the answer to saturated soil. He still has the RT, but this spring he also bought the new 40-foot Joker PT, which is also promoted as the answer to wet fields.

“I was looking for something that would work better in the more extreme wet conditions. The RT didn’t seem to be cutting it,” said Boyd, adding that the spring loaded packer wheels did not shed the mud the way he thought they would.

“The packers were clogging. They’d fill right up with mud because the discs aren’t far enough ahead of the packers. In wet spots, the discs would spin and throw too much mud into the packers and plug them right up.”

Boyd, who used both Jokers this spring, said the two machines are supposed to be designed to carry out different functions, but he’s not convinced it works that way.

The PT is intended to help dry out the soil.

“I think the PT works better than the other one for that. When they sold it to us, they told me seed bed preparation wouldn’t be as good with the PT, but it’s really not too bad. In some conditions, it’s even better than the RT finish.”

However, Boyd said the PT uses all the power generated by his 500 horsepower tractor, and it could use more. As well, he found it to be finicky to operate.

“My son was running it first. Then we had an older gentleman running it. But it seems they didn’t have such good success. It’s not really totally user-friendly,” he said.

“The baskets will fill with mud, just like the packers did on the RT. You have to have your head screwed on backwards to run this machine properly and get the baskets lifted to the right height. We have that lift capability with the PT that we don’t have with the RT, but if you don’t get the baskets up to the right height, it’s no better than the RT machine.”