Tillage equipment | Has today’s one-pass tillage movement superseded yesterday’s one-pass tillage seeding movement?
FARGO, N.D. — Twenty years ago, farmers were flooded by waves of new no-till drills.
Today, the picture has reversed as farmers are inundated by waves of new tillage implements.
Many reasons are cited.
The wet spell has persisted longer than anyone could have imagined, leaving farmers to cope with excess soil moisture.
The abundant moisture has also created an enormous buildup of crop residue in many areas. Even in semi-arid regions, residue cover has caused seeding problems.
Riteway Manufacturing says trash contributes to another factor that’s less obvious: the layer forms a seal that prevents moisture and oxygen from reaching the soil. It also strands the seed in the top fluffy stuff instead of reaching genuine soil.
As well, chemicals have not proven to be as effective at controlling weeds, disease and insects as industry and farmers had thought they would in the 1990s.
The result of all this is that engineers have turned their attentions to building better tillage equipment.
This year’s Big Iron Show in Fargo was crowded with more new tillage offerings, but how can any one manufacturer hope to stand out?
“It’s simple. We build a better widget,” said Dan Wehrs, the U.S. manager of Riteway, which introduced the One-Till cultivator last year.
Wehrs said it’s impossible to build a single tillage machine that’s perfect for every farm.
“Every farm is so different, so unique, the best we can do is design a machine that offers as many configurations and adjustments and alternatives as possible,” he said.
“For example, the disc angle on this machine today is 16 degrees lateral and 10 degrees up. Sixteen degrees is very radical. I think it’s the most aggressive on the market. But you don’t necessarily have to run it in that configuration. You can do a number of different things with this implement.”
Wehrs said the One-Till can be set up to do standard tillage, heavy tillage or vertical tillage. Operators can install fluted coulters for true vertical tillage and adjust the angle from zero to seven degrees from the tractor.
He conceded that the One-Till is one of many high speed disc machines on the market today, with the typical depth range from one to six inches. However, he said versatility is the difference that sets it apart from other disc implements.
Packer options include coils, single or double rolling baskets, harrow tines and rotary harrow tines. Coulter spacing can be five or seven inches.
Suspension can be for each six-disc gang, each pair of discs or each individual disc. Discs can be changed out as gangs or individually. Disc selection includes flat blade coulters, notched concave discs or wavy self-sharpening concave discs.
According to Riteway, section gangs with a slight angle are best for smooth ground with few rocks. The individual suspension is better for rocky ground. Section gangs at a big angle are best for drying out wet soil in preparation for seeding.
Adjustments can be made on the go from the cab, allowing the operator to make changes for varying field conditions. If the operator wants to smooth out tractor tire ruts, the centre section can be lowered without affecting the wings.
“The 16 and 10 configuration here at the show is a setup guys use for high speed shallow disc operations,” Wehrs said.
“When you run it like that, you don’t leave any chunks of soil. You move the entire soil profile down to two or three inches. It gives you a nice seed bed if you’ve installed the coil packers. Roll it the next day and plant right away. For B.t. corn stalks, I’d use a less aggressive angle. I’d use coil packers on lighter soils and the rolling basket or harrow tines on heavy gumbo soils.”
One-Till continues using the Riteway Forward unfold design, which lets the operator go from transit mode to field mode while driving forward.
The Forward unfold is standard on the 32-foot, 42-foot and 50-foot models.
The transport width and height on all three models are 12 feet, six inches. Power requirement is 10 to 15 horsepower per foot for all three models.
Is the One-Till really the one-pass tillage implement the name implies?
“That’s a slippery slope. That’s a marketing question,” Wehrs said with a chuckle.
RiteWay engineers designed the machine so it can be completely re-configured in one working day. Wehrs said this eliminates the need for a farmer to buy different implements for different tillage tasks.
“Yes, I think it’s going to prove out to be a one-pass tillage implement in a lot of situations, but in really heavy residue, I think guys may want to hit it twice,” he said.
“Go deeper in the fall to get that biology started with the trash. Then go in fast in the spring at about 1.5 inches for your final seed bed.”
For further information, visit www.ritewaymfg.com.