Ploughs and presses are the topics for this month’s Power on the Land, brought to you by Mike Williams.
A major development in Amazone’s plough range was the addition of the Cayros mounted series in 2016 following Amazone’s purchase of Vogel & Noot, one of the leading plough manufacturers. Last year Amazone extended the Cayros range with the addition of a 2f model for tractors as small as 50hp. The maximum tractor size is 120hp for the Cayros M series with 2–4 furrows, increasing to 140hp for the 3 and 4f XM series and to 200hp for XMS models up to 5f. The top Cayros models are the XS series with up to 6f and limited to 260hp, and XS Pro ploughs have a 380hp limit.
This year’s Cayros plough news is a special finance deal offering an extra £250 plus VAT discount per pair of furrows for customers buying a new plough before the end of November.
This year’s new arrivals in the Lemken range include the Diamant 16 series semi-mounted ploughs available with between 5–9f. The equipment choices include either manual or hydraulic furrow width adjustment, 100 and 120cm interbody clearances are available and list prices start at £29,322 for a 5-furrow version. The semi-mounted plough range also includes the EuroTitan wagon ploughs with from 9 to 12 furrows based on a design that simplifies changing between on-land and in-furrow working. Lemken’s mounted reversible ploughs are the Juwel 7 series with 3–5f, increasing to a maximum of 7f for the Juwel 8 series. Furrow widths can be mechanically or hydraulically adjusted and the Turn Control Pro or TCP feature available on Juwel 8 series ploughs includes Isobus control.
One of the special features on Pottinger Servo mounted ploughs from the 35 series upwards is the use of internal support bars to provide increased structural strength for the main beam, increasing the resistance to flexing by up to 25 per cent. Servo mounted ploughs are available with from 2–6f for tractors with maximum outputs from 140–350hp, equipment choices include overload protection with hydraulic trip legs, and hydraulically operated furrow width adjustment is available.
The Pottinger plough range also includes the 6.50 semi-mounted series with 6–9f to work with 360hp maximum. Interbody spacing on the semi-mounted ploughs is 102cm, the beam cross section is 180mm square and the under-frame clearance is 80.9cm.
New mounted ploughs with 250hp maximum tractor power have been added to the Kverneland range. The previous power limit was 200hp, but the new ES250 and LS250 plough series have been designed to cope with the extra power available on many farms. The latest ploughs are available in 5, 5+1 and 6f versions, and the LS specification includes shearbolt protection while the ES version features auto-reset. Kverneland also offers the 2500B series reversible ploughs for mid-range tractors. Designed for up to 150hp, they are available from 3–5 furrows and have 80cm of underbeam clearance. The range also includes semi-mounted ploughs, and Kverneland is also a leading manufacturer of conventional ploughs including special match ploughs with a long record of competition successes.
The Maschio Gaspardo machinery range distributed by Opico includes the Unico reversible ploughs from 3–5 furrows. The design includes a 140mm x 140mm reinforced main beam, and the main pivot shaft for the headstock is made from high grade steel with 100mm diameter for up to 3+1 furrows, increasing to 120mm for the larger ploughs. The standard inter-body clearance is 95cm and the underbeam clearance is 80cm, with longer legs available to increase the beam clearance to 87cm. The standard specification includes furrow width settings from 12–18in and mechanical or hydraulic adjustment of the front furrow width uses a parallelogram system allowing changes to be made quickly, and the hydraulically operated plough alignment included on 4f upwards simplifies lifting and turnover.
Long life triplex mouldboards and carbide coated points and shares are featured on the Kuhn range of mounted and semi-mounted ploughs. The comprehensive list of semi-mounted ploughs includes the Multi-Leader and Vari-Leader series with 6–8f for tractors with maximum outputs from 270–360hp, the Manager and Vari Manager ploughs with 5–8f have power limits in the 149–239hp range, and the maximum power limit for the Challenger and Vari Challenger series is 450hp. All the semi-mounted ploughs have 80cm underbeam clearance. Multi Master and Vari Master mounted ploughs with 3–7 furrows have power limits ranging from 90hp to a 385hp maximum with 7f, and the underbeam clearances are either 75 or 80cm.
Vaderstad’s RexiusTwin is said to be the heaviest press on the market, suitable for heavy or light soils and capable of making a seedbed in a single pass on ploughed land with typical working speeds in the 10–13kph range. The press is available in 5 sizes with working widths between 4.5–10.3m, and weights range from 7,400–15,000kg or about 1,660kg/m. The minimum tractor size is 140hp for the 4.5m model. The RexiusTwin pressing action starts with a set of heavy-duty spring tines spaced at 20cm with a 15cm maximum working depth. These are followed by the clod crushing and levelling action of the CrossBoard, with the rear press wheels cutting, crushing and levelling as they consolidate.
Rollers and press rings
Cultivation equipment from Cambridgeshire based Tillso includes Diamond rollers with steel press rings for consolidation. The rollers, which are available for retro-fitting, come in 550, 600 and 700mm sizes and the ring spacing can be varied to suit the tine position of a linked cultivator. The rings are designed for effective self-cleaning and are shaped to provide a clod cutting and crushing action with side pressure to aid consolidation. Diamond roller weight per metre depends on the ring size and spacing, but an example is 200kg/m for 600mm rings at 20cm intervals.
The Tillso range also includes the Flex-Till flexible rubber roller capable of working in soil with higher moisture levels. It has a ‘toothed’ surface for improved self-cleaning while leaving an indented soil surface for improved moisture retention.
Norfolk farm firms up with new press
In search of more output, Norfolk farming firm JW Coe & Company moved to on-land ploughing, from working in the furrow. The move included investment in a new Kverneland double packer, supplied by local dealer TNS at Sculthorpe.
The 1,800ha business, based at Church Farm, Fring, is a keen advocate of ploughing, particularly with land recently taken over by the expanding business.
“We’re addressing historical compaction and pan issues by deep ploughing and pressing to hit the reset button,” explains operator Kevin Williamson. “And with our recent change of plough and press, the output and quality of finish has improved considerably.”
Running on-land has removed tractor weight from the furrow bottom, and with a Fendt MT943 Vario replacing a wheeled Fendt 936, Mr Williamson says the 7f LO plough and double packer are easily handled. With around 485ha ploughed annually, the business is focused on spreading its operating costs and working more efficiently, while seeking yield improvement.
“With the plough set at 18in furrow widths to match the double press, and working from 9-12in deep, the MT943 runs easily at 9kph – it’s quite a fuel-efficient cultivations system,” he says.
While the lion’s share of soil across the farm is a blowing, sandy silt that can also pack tightly, there are pockets of heavy land, where the extra power comes in handy with the larger plough.
“Output is around 18–21ha/day with the seven furrow plough and press, and we’ve found the extra tractor power to be a welcome boost on the hillier parts of the farm,” says Mr Williamson.
“We’re now getting a really clean, firm finish, that is good enough to go straight in with the drill on our lighter soils.”
New plough and furrow press proving popular
Launched this year, the Diamant 16 is a new addition to Lemken’s Diamant plough range. The ‘OptiLine’ feature provides the first, and currently only, adjustment system for this type of plough designed to prevent lateral pull during ploughing – a new feature that has already been awarded a DLG Silver medal. The range of applications for this plough has also been broadened to cater for larger tractors with greater pulling power.
The Diamant 11 range traction increase system has been expanded by a feature for reducing pressure at the headlands, contributing to even greater fuel savings. This allows higher system pressures, which result in even more weight being shifted from the plough and front tractor axle to the rear tractor axle. As a result, the tractor/plough combination gains even greater pulling force.
The dimensions of all main bearings have been enlarged and the on-land version has also been updated, allowing the implement to be used by tractors with external widths of up to four metres. This ensures that the wheels always maintain a sufficient distance from the furrow edges, even in difficult conditions.
The Diamant 16 features hydraulic depth adjustment, which is set by the three-point linkage at the front and via the transport wheel at the rear, either using a hydraulic/mechanical (standard equipment) or optionally via a hydraulic/electrical mechanism. The relevant shut-off valve is positioned to either a Set or Work mode and can be set manually or via a spool valve operated from the tractor seat.
Another Lemken product proving popular with British farmers is the FlexPack furrow press.
Contrary to conventional furrow presses that have a fixed working width, the FlexPack adjusts itself automatically to the working width of the plough. There is no risk of double packing when the plough is used at reduced working widths either. The FlexPack is available on the Juwel 7 in 4f format and Juwel 8 model of plough from 4–6f with shear bolt leg protection.
Lemken UK’s Paul Creasy commented that the FlexPack has been a very successful product in the UK since its launch in 2013. “The press has found favour with contractors and large scale farmers wanting to move machinery over great distances who find traditional trailed plough presses time consuming to move.
“The other great advantage is every part of the field is pressed. Trailed plough presses don’t tend to plough field headlands, just the fieldwork, whereas the FlexPack will press everything that the plough turns over leaving an even consolidated finish for the next field operation.”
Staggered pairs of packer rings with a diameter of 60cm and a V-profile prevent clogging during cultivation. They provide a good packing effect without risk of sinking too deep on light soils.
For good reconsolidation, the pressure load on the FlexPack can be adjusted hydraulically to suit soil type and conditions for best results. When working in conjunction with the Juwel 8 TCP (Turn Control Pro) with Isobus connectivity, the pressure can be controlled from the tractor cab.
Investment in wearing part technology
Pottinger may be more readily associated with grassland equipment but the company has been a plough manufacturer for 42 years, having acquired the German plough manufacturer Landsberg am Lech in 1975.
Today the Pottinger Servo plough range is manufactured at the company’s modern facility in Vodnany, Czech Republic. The range encompasses models from 2-9f with fully mounted and semi mounted models available. The inside of the beam on Servo 35 and 45 ploughs is strengthened by two bolted reinforcement bars. This increases the resistance to flexing by up to 25 per cent and forms a high-strength unit.
Wearing metal plays an important part in the purchase of any soil engaging implement so Pottinger has made significant investment in plough wearing part technology. Since 2013 all its plough wearing parts have been manufactured in its Vodnany production facility. This facility uses a carbonising process that reduces friction on soil engaging parts and increases the potential service life of components by up to 40 per cent. When combined with its vacuum hardening process, Pottinger says its plough range is equipped with the highest possible quality of wearing parts.