Knight Farm Machinery is launching the TopTill – a new seedbed finishing cultivator – which will receive its first public demonstration at the Tillage 2019 event at Deenesthorpe Airfield, near Corby, Northamptonshire, on September 4th.
The implement can be used to work down and finish any style of cultivation, including over-wintered ploughing, and leave it ready for drilling with no further work required.
It features leading paddles running ahead of a front roller, which prepares the seedbed for the cultivating tines, with a final finish being applied by a double CrossKill roller. The machine uses a similar design of frame to Knight’s successful M-Series cultivator.
All the working elements are mounted on independently floating sub-frames, with the cultivating tines mounted on an additional frame so their working depth can be adjusted separately.
The leading element is a row of sprung panels that loosen and break up the soil surface, breaking up clods so that the following roller can crush them and press them into the seedbed.
This creates a levelled and consolidated surface into which the five rows of tines can work efficiently, achieving a thorough soil and trash mixing operation, before the seedbed is finished by the double CrossKill roller.
Key to the machine’s effectiveness is the spacing of the working tines. These are set in five rows, with a 30cm gap front to back between the rows and a 45cm gap between tines on the same row, an arrangement that minimises blockage risks.
This means that – in work – there is a 9cm gap between tines, so the machine can work very shallow and still move all the soil in either a chitting or seedbed preparation pass. The tines are fitted with reversible points to offer extended working life.
The weight of the machine (800kgs/metre depending on specification) is carried on the front and rear rollers, with the working depth of the paddles and tines being adjusted via turnbuckles.
Operators have the option to raise the front of the machine slightly if they want to perform a progressive cultivation.
For transport the machine is carried on two rear wheels, which lift completely clear of the soil when in work. Knight intends to offer a set of tractor wheel-mark eradicators – to run ahead of the levelling paddles – so users can leave the seedbed with no wheel marks on it at all.
The machine is currently available in a six metre format, which needs 150hp – 200hp according to soil type and working conditions.