Although conventional scrapers are still the predominant machines for drainage, new field ditching concepts have fostered a new breed of dirt moving implements: V-Wing, Pulldozer and Ag Shield’s new TerraFormer.
The new concept machines use large adjustable blades to pull soil from one point to another in a continuous smooth line. Farmers and operators who have tried or observed these three new generation ditchers say it’s much more efficient than scraping up 20 yards, hauling it around, dumping it and going back for another scoop.
Ag Shield’s Darin Hubscher says most prescription maps for field drainage do not require the soil to be moved very far.
“There’s no reason you should have to actually pick up the soil. You only need to move it a little ways, so why not drag it,” Hubscher said in a phone interview, adding that dragging instead of scooping is much faster. He says that in 30 minutes, an operator can make a waterway 12 inches deep, 30 feet wide and a half mile long. You can’t do that with a scraper.
Hubscher says the other thing farmers have noted is that when TerraFormer leaves the field, the field is ready for seeding. With a scraper, the operator gets a load, goes to dumps it, comes back and does it all over again all day long. There are piles of dirt left all over that need to be worked.
“Our competition is the Pulldozer and the V-Wing, which does an excellent job of finding a ditch bottom. It’s heavy and it’s got that V-shape that allows it to really dig.
“The efficiency starts when you start a ditch. The continuous motion of moving dirt allows the operator to make that bottom cut in a single pass without taking on a load and then pulling out to drop it. The electronics continue running, so regardless of where you go in the field your blade will be at the correct depth or will be lifted.
“TerraFormer is good at what the V-Wing does and what the Pulldozer does. We studied them before we designed ours. We designed it to find the bottom, and it does that very well. And we wanted it to pull dirt and distribute it evenly like the Pulldozer. We didn’t want to just build another V-Wing or Pulldozer. We wanted to combine those two pieces of equipment into one machine.”
The TerraFormer has a maximum cutting width of 28 feet and is adjustable from 12 feet to 28 feet. The blade tilts left or right and can capture up to 20 cubic yards of soil and drag it as far as needed. It comes ready for Autograde and slope control, and is compatible with all main drainage software packages on the market. Minimum power requirement is 400 horsepower.
In transit mode, it folds up to just under 12 feet. He says it’s not only a safety factor, but it also means the unit fits inside a standard shipping container without dis-assembly. The other big safety factor is the low center of gravity. TerraFormer is built in Manitoba. Retail price is $129,000.