At an event in Sweden, Vaderstad demonstrated the latest new and updated products
At an event in Sweden in early October, Vaderstad demonstrated the latest new and updated products in its drill and cultivator ranges. David Williams reports.The choice of cultivator and cultivation technique to achieve specific results is an important decision on today’s farms. Factors such as the high cost of fuel and the need for high work rates mean users must cultivate only as deep, and move only as much soil, as necessary.The need to achieve optimal establishment and ensure potential for growth, while ensuring weeds are removed or left susceptible to herbicide treatments, as well as the ability to perform in a wide variety of situations has meant that the decision as to which cultivator to select is now seen as a high priority. Vaderstad has responded to customer demand with updated cultivation equipment and drills and the addition of a totally new cultivator to its range.Cultivators
The popular and versatile Carrier disc cultivator was designed for shallow stubble and secondary cultivations with a range of alternative toolbar options available to suit a wide range of soil types and working regimes.Meeting the demand for deeper cultivations new L and XL versions have been added to the range, the L with large 51cm discs, compared with the standard Carrier and Carrier X’s 45cm, while the larger XL has even larger diameter 61cm notched discs, to cope with high volumes of harvest trash.
A heavier duty chassis has been designed, and an attraction for users is that the L and XL share a similar design and disc arm length allowing use of both disc sizes.The disc working angle is adjustable, with four settings, to ensure movement of all the soil between the discs, regardless of working depth. For deep cultivations the angle can be reduced, ensuring good soil flow, making the machine easier to pull and saving fuel while, for shallow work, a more aggressive angle can be selected, while still optimising soil flow. Altering the disc angle requires the operator to loosen a fixing nut and rotate the whole disc bearing housing around multiples of 90 degrees, so that the disc hub presents the disc at the desired angle. The company quotes an adjustment time of an hour for two people changing the disc angle settings on a 6m machine, but points out that on most farms this would need doing just twice per season, as the angle is adjusted to alter the working characteristic and not to compensate for disc wear.The discs are mounted in an ‘X’ layout which, Vaderstad explained, means the cultivator pulls straight behind the tractor so there is no crabbing effect.Working width options are 4.25, 5.25, 6.25 and 8.25m and all have a transport width of less than 3m and a folded height under 4m, including the largest version which the company claims is unique in the market for a cultivator of its size. The L and XL models in 6.25 and 8.25m working widths both have adjustable wing pressure to ensure an even cultivation depth across the entire machine.Three front toolbar systems are available, allowing four variations; no tool, the CrossCutter Knife, Straw harrow or the CrossBoard Heavy. These provide the flexibility to cultivate in a wide range of situations from heavy straw directly behind the combine, to working after the plough to create a seedbed.Side discs and side plates are standard equipment to keep the large volume of soil moved by the cultivator within its working width, and maintaining a level surface from row to row.At the rear, three different packers are available including double SoilRunner, which has a profile similar to a bicycle wheel rim, without the tyre fitted and, in work, fills with packed soil giving the roller more weight, produces an open tilled surface and has low wear rates as the packed soil in the rim protects the metal rim from the soil being worked. There is also SteelRunner, which has a single aggressive leading edge and the CageRunner which is a cage profile crumble roller.Adjustable hydraulic suspension is fitted to the transport wheels of the larger two versions as standard equipment and is an option on the others. The manufacturer explained that it provides a much better ride on the road than a rigid axle system, reducing shock forces on the machine by up to 25 per cent. The Carrier L and XL can be lifted out of work on the transport wheels, or on the rear packer, providing flexibility during headland turns and, when operating in wet, soft conditions, the wheels can be lowered to take some of the weight during cultivation.The angle of the double packer is infinitely adjustable to achieve equal pressure between the front and rear sections, regardless of working depth.Maximum depth is set at the front using spacers on the main ram and the depth at the rear is set by an adjustable hydraulic flow cut off, to regulate the length of action of the rear rams.The front toolbar has two different mounting heights, extending the range of adjustment available.
“The Carrier is a very versatile and popular cultivator within our range, and making it available with larger working discs is a direct result of consultation with users, as there are situations where the extra capacity to cope with trash, and to work deeper is a benefit,” explained Vaderstad UK marketing manager Andy Gamble. “The largest discs won’t suit everyone, as their notched profile means they can’t be used for very shallow cultivations, but the ability to swap between the two sizes, and to alter the working angle to suit different cultivation depths means the L and XL remain very versatile machines, and we look forward to having them available in the UK.””The Carrier XL has undergone a huge amount of testing over the past two years,” explained Vaderstad chairman Crister Stark. “The pre-production machines have cultivated many thousands of hectares on farms in Spain to make sure the design was successful. Farmers, rightly, have very high expectations when they invest in premium machinery and they expect it to be right when it is delivered.”Versatile Carrier
Also shown at the event were new attachments for the standard Carrier, specifically for weed and pest eradication situations.To chop stubbles and trash, the CrossCutter Knife, which is similar to a long cage roller but with sharp blades to cut through clods and trash, followed by the discs and rear packer provides a thorough mulch and soil mix, while the straw harrow at the front followed by the discs help spread clumps of straw and starts creating a tilth ahead of the discs. A third option; CrossBoard Heavy which is a toolbar of heavy spring tines provides a heavy duty levelling action after the main discs.A new option, which can be fitted in place of the standard discs are CrossCutter Discs; individual chopping discs with laterally mounted knife bodies mounted around the edge to provide uniform shallow cultivation at high operating speeds and down to just 30mm deep, encouraging germination of oilseed rape and weed seeds. Combined with the front CrossCutter Knife the chopping and mixing action is extremely thorough and requires relatively low power and fuel use.All-new deep-work cultivator for stubblesA brand new cultivator, capable of working down to 40cm, but designed to cultivate thoroughly across its full width, even at shallower working depths, was demonstrated.The Opus, available in 6 and 7m working widths, has three rows of tines, providing 27cm tine spacing, followed by staggered levelling discs and a rear packer. The company explained that this spacing had been chosen for its ability to operate in heavy trash conditions while providing full movement of all the soil between the tines in shallower cultivations, using a wide range of tine and point variations.The ability to work deep, even when large amounts of trash are present, is achieved with the heavy duty frame design providing 80cm underbody clearance. The tines are protected by an adjustable hydraulic break-back system providing up to 700kg release pressure.”There are more than 20 different shin and point combinations available for the tines,” pointed out Vaderstad development engineer Maria Redwanz. “We developed the Opus for larger farms looking for a flexible cultivator and the options available mean it can be supplied in a configuration ideal for working at any depth, and in all soils and working conditions,” she said. “We tested the new cultivator on three different farms in Germany with soil types varying from very light to heavy clay. The Opus is unique in that it can handle all conditions as regards consolidation and we can vary the pressure, or even remove the rear packer if needed,” she added. Tine point options include Marathon 50 and 80mm points, plated with a hard-wearing steel which maintains their profile throughout their working life ensuring consistent performance. “They also last eight to ten times longer than standard points, so reduce downtime for replacement,” said Maria.Two rear packer options are available; double SoilRunner and SteelRunner. For operating in variable conditions during the season the rollers are interchangeable and can be swapped over in just an hour or so, or removed altogether. They also offer hydraulically adjustable operating pressure, and both are rubber mounted providing suspension.”Despite its capabilities the design has resulted in a moderate power requirement of 250hp-plus for the 6m version,” explained Maria.The new Opus will be launched officially this autumn with deliveries to farms commencing in spring 2015.Drills updated
Vaderstad’s Rapid drill has been in production since 1991 and more than 22,000 have been supplied with several recording more than 100,000ha drilled.For 2015 an updated version will be introduced with several improvements designed to increase flexibility and performance. The most obvious, from a distance, is a new hopper shape, providing an improved flow of seed, and mounted slightly higher above the chassis increasing the speed at which seed is dropped to the coulters for more precise spacing.Hydraulic drive to the metering system has replaced ground drive, and Vaderstad explained that the use of a hydraulic motor was selected in preference to an electric drive, as it offers similar infinite speed control on-the-move but, in this application, is better suited to providing power for the many seed meters along the drive shaft.The hopper capacity is 3m3 on 3m variants and 4m3 on 4m machines, and there are two versions available in each operating width; ‘Rapid S’ and ‘Rapid C’, the ‘S’ for seed only and the ‘C’ for combined seed and fertiliser. Mechanical half-width shut-off is provided, for seed and/or fertiliser, a pair of twist levers used to disconnect the drive to the metering units.With the infinite seed rate metering provided by the new drive system comes a range of new control options; Isobus – from the tractor controls, or using Vaderstad’s own E-Control system which was launched last year and uses an iPad to communicate with, and set up the drill, monitor performance and make adjustments on-the-move. The iPad is linked through a wi-fi network to an on-board control box, from which control of the machine is activated.The drill can also link to the tractor’s precision farming systems to provide variable seed rates, and can be used in conjunction with Isobus. Operation with a standard GPS-based system providing precise operation at a reduced cost is also possible.Maintenance-free bearings are used on the drill coulters, extending their working life and reducing down-time. The hydraulic and electronic control systems are separated for ease of servicing or repair, a black plastic cover on one side of the drill covering the hydraulic connections and drive, and a similar cover on the other side provides protection for the electrics.There is also a hydraulically-adjusted following harrow option which allows the user to vary the operating pressure, increasing it where required, for example during headland turns to eradicate wheelings or to allow for different soil types within the field.”The new Rapid drill will be popular in the UK,” said Andy, “with the ability to drill at variable rates and offering improved performance for higher work rates than earlier models. Box drills account for approximately 20 per cent of UK drill sales, and we are seeing increasing demand from farmers who have used combined power harrow drills, but are finding the technique expensive in terms of fuel consumption, so are keen to find an alternative. Because of transport restrictions the 3m version accounts for more sales than the 4m in the UK, and most demand is in the west of the country where field sizes tend to be smaller. Wider air drills account for most sales in the east.”Spirit drill updates
Responding to the demand for strategic placement of fertiliser in relation to the seed, Vaderstad has developed its 600C Nordic version, which complements the StripDrill and Fix models launched last year.The Nordic uses a single disc coulter in front of the centre press wheels to place the fertiliser at 25cm spacings, the disc ensuring consistent depth control even in heavy or hard, dry soils, and covering the fertiliser without disturbing the seedbed, preserving moisture. The 25cm spacing places fertiliser between alternate rows of seed drilled at 12.5cm. Because the single row of discs is used only for fertiliser placement, they can run at a shallow angle making them easy to pull and requiring less horsepower.In front of the fertiliser discs is a CrossBoard Heavy to level the soil, and the action is hydraulically adjusted from the cab, independently of the coulter discs.The Nordic provides a further option for farmers, sitting in the range alongside the Fix and StripDrill variants. The StripDrill strip-till drill offers seed row spacing at 167mm, or 334mm for oilseed rape, with fertiliser applied at 334mm, and the distribution tubes allowing the user to adjust the application depth through two outlets.The Fix version, designed for min-till cultivation regimes, offers standard fertiliser placement, discs running at an aggressive angle cultivating ahead of the press wheels and mixing the soil and fertiliser.
“In the UK, the 6m Spirit C combined seed and fertiliser drill has proved very successful with users appreciating its ability to precisely place the seed and fertiliser in one pass.The new Nordic, with its single row of discs used only for fertiliser application, is easier to pull, so will save fuel and can be used with smaller tractors, requiring only 175hp compared with approximately 220hp for the Fix, which cultivates with SystemDisc double row of discs to incorporate the fertiliser,” explained Andy. “A further advantage of the Nordic is that fertiliser can be placed deeper, allowing the operator to take advantage of the moisture further down in a dry season to increase availability of the nutrients to the plant.”The StripDrill is available in 4 or 6m variants and can work down to 30cm, although typically the tines work between 15-20cm depth. Power requirement is higher, approximately 60hp/m of working width, but while many farmers have found system successful for establishing oilseed rape straight into stubbles, there are others using the strip cultivation technique within a min-till regime, allowing very shallow surface cultivations ahead of the drill for weed control.Vaderstad said its staff has also heard from farmers strip-drilling into ploughed land, who have reported excellent resulting establishment and yields. Some 45 StripDrills are working currently, during the first full year of production, and Andy explained that while time and fuel savings are possible, achieving good results requires careful management.”In the UK we have found that closing the slot after drilling is essential, otherwise a ‘slug highway’ is created along which a slug can find every seed. Also, the seed and the root must have good soil contact so just leaving it loose in the slot will not achieve good root establishment. Strip drilling isn’t for everyone as it is difficult to get right, but with correct use it can be very successful.”Rear harrow
A new rear following harrow is available for all Spirit drills. Centrally-mounted and hydraulically-controlled it can be set to remain in contact with the ground when the coulters are raised, allowing eradication of wheel marks on headlands.Another new feature for the Spirit range is an optional rear platform, which provides improved access to the seed distributor and also to the rear-mounted BioDrill, if fitted.