Norfolk farm manager Dan Matthews
One the first of the new generation of Sumo Quatroone-pass cultivators has completed its first season on a 3,000ha (7,400 acre) Norfolk estatewhere its ability to simultaneously loosen plough pans and produce a weatherproofnear-seedbed, without bringing wet soil to the surface, has fitted the need foran all-round implement that will cope with a multitude of different situations.
With much of the land at Velcourt-managed Eau Brink Farms,close to Kings Lynn, being a silty clay loam, and with cropping that includessugar beet as well as wheat, oilseed rape and beans, farm manager Dan Matthewssought a cultivator versatile enough to cope with a variety of circumstanceswhen looking last season to move beyond an out-and-out subsoiler.
We were operating a Keeble Progressive which, with 20-inchsubsoiler legs, is good where that much movement is needed, but there are manysituations where we dont need that level of subsoiling, and want to just breakthe plough pan down at around 12in and leave a weatherproof, cultivated andpressed finish, explains Mr Matthews.
In addition, we wanted something that provided moreadjustability of the different disc/tine/press elements for differentsituations, and that would cope well with straw and trash, chopping and mixingit into the soil surface without blocking.
Having been out of production for a time due to other factory commitments,expansion and investment at Sumo saw the re-introduction last year of theQuatro in a re-designed format that improved its strength, adjustability andease of operation.
It comprises two rows of hydraulicallydepth-adjustable discs either side of a set of deep loosening legs, followed bya rear spiked Multipacka. Working depth of the auto-reset legs ispin-adjustable to a maximum 400mm.
Machine levelling is via spacer shims onthe Quatros hydraulically-adjustable drawbar, a system also used to put moreweight on the rear packer and, in conjunction with the rear-mounted axle, tolift the implement out of work on headlands and to transport it on the road.
A demonstration organised by local Sumo dealer Thurlow NunnStanden saw the Quatro perform particularly impressively, incorporating trashwithout blocking in what were some wet soil conditions, and on the back of thisa Quatro was ordered for autumn 2013 delivery.
Key difference between the Quatro and Sumos long-establishedTrio is the leading set of discs ahead of the legs that are the first elementin the latter implement. Available in 4, 5 and 6m working widths, it is thelargest of these models that is now on the Eau Brink Farms fleet, operatedbehind a 614hp (max) Case IH Quadtrac 550, one of a trio of Quadtracs on thefarm.
The Keeble does a good job for us, and we have retained it,but it does leave a rough surface, Mr Matthews says.
The Quatro is more flexible and leaves a more refinedfinish, which is pretty much 90 per cent of a seedbed, and its now our primarycultivation tool for wheat after oilseed rape and for drilled OSR after wheat.It copes well with the trash in both those situations.
Where the weather has been good during the early part ofbeet lifting, its also a good tool for working down that land before pressing to produce a wheat seedbed.
That ability to work in a multitude of situations evenextends to working down ploughed ground, says Mr Matthews.
We plough ahead of second wheats, and the Quatro happilyworks this down into a seedbed ahead of the drills. Its that versatility thatis one of its big advantages.