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Phoenix rises in the mud

If you believe in “Rise of the Phoenix” listen up.

The time-honored Phoenix rotary harrow is now available in a heavy-duty version, almost as if it was designed for our current wet spring.

In the legend, Phoenix rose from the ashes. This spring, the Rite Way rotary harrow instead is rising from the mud. Rite Way’s newest rotary harrow is basically a super heavy-duty version of the old Phoenix, which Rite Way has built for years. Like the old Phoenix, the new rotary harrow specializes in drying out wet fields.

Given the muddy conditions this spring, the re-introduction couldn’t have come at a more opportune time, says Rite Way’s Brad Grass. He says the engineers kept the basic Phoenix concept, but did a major upgrade two years ago. The new rotary harrow shares the same platform as their heavy harrows, with the same quarter-inch tubing.

“It’s always been a good machine for drying out the surface of wet fields and preparing a seedbed, depending on how you adjust it,” said Grass, adding that the tine angle is hydraulically adjustable in the tractor cab, from 20 degrees to 40 degrees.

From 20 degrees to 30 degrees, the harrow kills weeds and dries out the wet spots so you can seed earlier.

From 30 to 35 degrees, the harrow knocks down and breaks up heavy trash, including corn stalks. It levels smaller ridges and prepares an even seedbed, leaving trash on surface and filling in cracks to conserve moisture.

At 40 degrees, it levels mole holes, smooths rough fields, breaks up large lumps, lowers large ridges and removes root balls from the soil. At 40 degrees, it’s also used to rejuvenate pasture and hay fields.

Geometry of the sections and tines can be adjusted in the cab from 20 degrees to 40 degrees, depending on the surface and what’s called for. At the most aggressive, 40 degree, setting, the tines can rip out corn root balls and level mole hills. | Rite Way photo

“Wet soil is what this rotary harrow is designed for,” said Grass. “You don’t want to use it on dry land. You want mellow land because it’s on its own weight. This is for guys who don’t want to disturb the soil, but they want to take care of the surface.

“This has 18-inch-long, three-quarter-inch tines, and they sit on their own weight. So they’re not going to go too deep. They’ll go from three-quarter inch to one-inch deep on mellow land. The nice thing about this rotary compared to the Phoenix is that you can make those tine angle adjustments from the cab.”

Grass says the operator can bring those 11-foot sections in to 45 degrees so they’re almost dragging over the surface. That’s the most aggressive angle, for rejuvenating pasture or hay land. But then you can back off to 20 degrees for drying out wet spots.

“We took a 60-foot through soggy wet straw land last spring, and we were seeding the next day. I was just out at Unity this week. A farmer out there bought a 60-foot rotary and he was using it on pea stubble. They had a lot of moisture, so I figured the pea vines would wrap pretty badly. But it did a good job without wrapping.

“We sold one to a farmer south of Assiniboia. They had a real problem with kochia down there last year. So he ran his rotary through the kochia. Two passes and it took care of those weeds in hurry, and without chemicals. That’s becoming more important every year.”

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