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Compaction foes

Today's buzzword in tillage is “vertical,” and new products at the farm shows reflect it. Several manufacturers have introduced new equipment to work the ground deep to improve soil tilth and repair compaction. Manufacturers say growers who have used corn-on-corn rotations or who have heavy soils may be interested in vertical tillage. The deep tillage implements are not geared for highly erodible land or fragile soils.

Here's a look at some of the new products we spotted this fall.

Great Plains Verti-Till

A new coulter/subsoiler from Great Plains is designed for fall tillage where aggressive action is needed to manage crop residue and eliminate compaction. Tom Evans, vice president of Great Plains sales, says the implement works especially well in corn-on-corn rotations where growers need the ground worked.

The Verti-Till features two ranks of turbo coulters to cut residue. The ranks are offset on 15-in. centers for a cutting width of 7½ in. The turbo coulters are fluted for good cutting action and a controlled release of soil. Subsoiler shanks set on 30-in. centers follow the coulters.

The shanks are available in 1¼-in. parabolic, 1¼-in. straight leg, and no-till ¾-in. spring steel shank designs. Point options include 2-, 5- and 7-in. widths and no-till point to fracture the soil below the surface and leave the top side undisturbed. A seedbed conditioner may be added to the back of the implement for final finishing.

Also available in a seven-shank model, the five-shank Verti-Till retails for $23,000. The seedbed conditioner is $4,000.

Great Plains Ultra-Till

For one-pass spring tillage work, the new Ultra-Till implement creates a level seedbed in corn and soybean fields with virtually no compaction. The Ultra-Till is equipped with one row of either turbo coulters or disc blades to cut residue into a size that drills and planters can handle. Blade depth is controlled hydraulically. Two rows of opposing rolling harrow gangs follow the coulters or disc blades. Angled at 30°, the harrows move residue back into place and eliminate ridging to leave a smooth seedbed.

Retail price for the Ultra-Till is about $1,100/ft. The tool is available in sizes from 30 to 52 ft. wide.

Great Plains InLine Subsoiler

This subsoiler loosens compacted soil layers. It is equipped with either a ¾-in. no-till shank to minimize surface disturbance or 1¼-in. straight leg shanks for minimum tillage. The subsoiler is available with three to eight shanks that are spaced 30, 36, 38 or 40 in. apart. The shanks come in rigid shear bolt or spring-loaded auto reset. A seven-shank, auto-reset model retails for $10,500.

Contact Great Plains, Dept. FIN, Box 5060, Salina, KS 67402, 785/823-3276, or visit www.greatplainsmfg. com or

Krause Dominator

Krause claims that its new deep tillage implement offers improved efficiency and top productivity, has faster speeds and requires fewer trips in the field. The Dominator handles several agronomic jobs, all in the correct order, according to the company. First, a residue manager system positions residue for the 25-in. coulters that follow. The large coulters size residue and slice a path for the two ranks of shanks that come next. The shanks, positioned in a split-the-middle pattern, handle compaction and improve soil tilth. Shank choices include parabolic deep till, combination deep till and heavy-duty chisel shanks or all chisel shanks.

Next on the Dominator, a row of smooth 24-in. discs on 18-in. spacing levels out the soil. Then fluted 24-in. discs spaced 10 in. apart follow to reduce clod size and create a level field finish. Growers may add a soil conditioning reel on the back for further finishing.

Suggested list price for a 15-ft. Dominator with a reel is about $36,800. Contact Krause Corp., Dept. FIN, Box 2707, Hutchinson, KS 67504-2707, 800/957-2873, visit or

Brillion Zone Commander

“Instead of farming the top 8 in. of soil, vertical tillage goes down to 22 in.,” reports Michael Irish, general manager of Brillion's farm implement division. “Corn will grow roots 3 ft. deep.” The Zone Commander works for growers using no-till or minimum-till practices.

The implement is designed for use in both fall and spring. It slices through the soil, gently lifting it and setting it down with minimal residue disturbance. Fertilizer may be added to build soil nutrients. Irish recommends that growers use the implement at 30-in. centers one year and the next year move the rows over so the implement runs down the center of the first year's rows. This helps keep the soil from compacting.

The implement is available with three to 12 shanks on 30-in. spacing. The six-shank model with coulters and baskets (pictured) retails for $18,000. Shank options are rigid, auto-reset or parabolic shanks.

Contact Brillion Iron Works Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 127, Brillion, WI 54110, 800/409-9749, visit or

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