The second generation of vertical-tillage tools is beginning to show up on the market. Several were on display at fall farm shows, along with other tools that fit in minimum-tillage situations. They’re designed for farmers who purposely want to leave as much residue on the surface as possible, but yet who want to do a minimal amount of tillage.
The vertical-tillage explosion led to the introduction of roughly a dozen models from a dozen companies over the last few years. Now some of those companies are upgrading their original entries with significant changes. In some cases, the tool becomes more user-friendly. In other situations, the amount of maintenance required to keep the machine operating properly is drastically reduced.
Most vertical-tillage tools are designed to run at high speeds, typically 8 to 10 mph. They are also designed to run at shallow depths, perhaps 2 inches or so. Some are more aggressive than others. Studying the design of a machine and the placement of gangs of blades can help you determine how aggressive the tool might be in working soil and covering up residue. Then you can decide whether your top priority is mixing soil and residue in the top few inches to begin the breakdown of residue, or simply leaving as much residue on top of the surface and as intact as possible.
Most new models unveiled at recent farm shows had more changes than just cosmetics. Something more than just a different paint scheme made the product new and worth a look. Several company spokespeople say they listen to feedback from customers, pass those comments along to engineers within the company, and then wind up with a product that has features many customers want in this particular type of machine.
Here are several new minimum-tillage tools. Be sure to use the contact information to find out more about the products that appeal to you the most.
Kongskilde 9200 penetrates toughest ground
The Kongskilde 9200 vertical-tillage implement penetrates the hardest, driest soils. It can work most soils 1 to 5 inches deep without extra weights. Base list price is $63,000 for a 23-foot model. For more information, contact Kongskilde Industries, Hudson, Ill., at 309-820-1090 or kongskilde.com.
Viking offers versatility
The Viking is a vertical-tillage implement from Versatile that is available in 28-, 32- and 36-foot widths. Gang angles can be set from 0 to 16 degrees in 4-degree increments. Base list price is $89,500 for the 28-foot model. For more information, contact Buhler Industries, Winnipeg, Manitoba, at 204-661-8711 or versatile-ag.com.
Great Plains expands vertical-tillage line
Great Plains Manufacturing has introduced 8.5- and 10-foot models of the Turbo-Max vertical-tillage implement and a 48-foot model for larger tractors. Base list price is $12,500 for the 8.5-foot model and $137,000 for the 48-foot model. For more information, contact Great Plains at 800-270-9302 or greatplainsag.com.
High Speed Landoll
Cut, size and bury crop residue while operating at 10 mph with High Speed Landoll disks. The series starts with a 13-foot three-point hitch model and goes all the way up to a 40-foot pull-type unit. For more information, contact Landoll Corp., Maryville, Kan., at 785-738-6613 or landoll.com.
Heavy-duty strip tillage from Schlagel
Schlagel's Rapid Till HD offers a 24-inch flat coulter that slices through heavy roots and tough soils. It is set in front of a 3/4-inch shank with a cast-iron point that helps prevent slabbing. Optional spring-mounted row cleaners remove residue from the surface. Dual wheel packers firm the soil. Adjust the coulters by removing a simple pin — no tools required. The Rapid Till HD is compatible with John Deere and Case IH equipment. For more information, contact Schlagel, Torrington, Wyo., at 888-889-1504 or schlagel.net.
High-speed tillage made easy
Norwood’s Kwik-Till high-speed tillage system incorporates a rubber torsion suspension system that allows the mechanism to follow the contour of the land and skate over obstructions. These units have unsurpassed flotation with Goodyear Super Flot ag tires that provide excellent weight distribution for less soil compaction. Available with 20-inch flat center or notched center disk blades, the units are relubrication-free. Learn more at 800-446-0316 or norwoodsales.com.
No more daily greasing
What’s neatest about the new Excelerator Series of vertical-till tools from Kuhn Krause is the no-grease feature. On this entire machine, only the wheel hubs need daily greasing. A recently designed bearing fitted to all the gangs of Excalibur blades and other key components eliminates the need for daily greasing. The hydraulic system is also completely new on this series, spokespeople say. The 8005 Series is available in sizes up to 50 feet. A 40-foot model is pictured. Contact Kuhn Krause Inc., Hutchinson, Kan., at 620-663-6161 or kuhnnorthamerica.com.
Row-crop cultivator fills niche
If you’re converting acreage to organic farming, this implement might fill a niche on your farm. The demand for new cultivators from farmers experimenting with organic crop production was one reason Hiniker brought out this heavy-duty cultivator. The 6000 Series is capable of 20- to 22-inch row spacing. To learn more, contact Hiniker Co., Mankato, Minn., at 507-625-6621 or hiniker.com.