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Great Plains adds tools, partners with Bayer

New tools offer more features, and ForGround partnership aims to broaden discussion of tillage and soil health.

Willie Vogt

March 1, 2023

4 Min Read
new VT1100 vertical tillage tool from Great Plains
ENHANCED TILLAGE: The new VT1100 vertical tillage tool from Great Plains has a range of new options, including a double-basket with round-bar reels, chopping reels (just ahead of the baskets) and a 22-inch disk.Photos by Willie Vogt

Back in 2010, Great Plains launched the Turbo-Max, one of the first vertical tillage tools to come to market. For 2023, the new VT1000 builds on that heritage with new options to further expand its use in the market. At the same time, the company is adding new features and options for its Terra-Max line. And the company is partnering with Bayer’s ForGround to support adoption of regenerative ag practices.

The new VT1100 Turbo-Max adds options, with many suggested by users of past company machines. Rodney Hake, engineering manager, explains that the rear double-basket attachment the company put on the Terra-Max was a feature requested for the Turbo-Max. “That’s popular now and is a more aggressive attachment for finishing,” he says. And users “wanted round-bar reels, so we’re offering that.”

Previously the finishing reels carried a flat-bar design, but the round-bar option has been requested by customers. The single basket setup is standard for the VT1100.

The VT1100 also features an optional chopper reel ahead of the rear baskets. “This is a popular option for vining crops, chopping them up rather than having them wrap,” Hake says.

The VT1100 also gets a new 22-inch blade option, which offers more life in harsher conditions. The 20-inch blade is still standard, Hake adds. “We’ve found, however, in rocky conditions that the smaller blade can be more effective,” he notes. “Bigger is not always better.”

But the larger blade option is popular in the I-states and out West where farmers like digging deeper with each vertical till pass, he explains.

Implement Command is an option for the VT1100 vertical tillage tool

Hake adds that the machine keeps its true vertical design, allowing a gang change of between 0 and 6 degrees. The machine also can be outfitted with the optional Implement Command system, allowing producers to set, adjust and monitor the unit from the cab. Farmers can use the system with an add-on monitor, or the ISO-compatible system will work with the farmer’s existing ISO-compatible display.

A hybrid tillage tool

The HT1100 Terra-Max line expands for the new model year with a 10-, 12- and 15-foot model to provide more flexibility for smaller farms. “We’re adding a TS9100 Turbo Seeder. It’s not new but we’re putting in on the smaller Terra-Max machines,” says Tony Wisker, vice president of sales and marketing.

The TS9100 Turbo Seeder is growing in popularity since it provides one-pass ground prep and cover crop seeding. It can also be used to overseed a hay field, establish a forage crop and incorporate residue in a single pass.

TS9100 Turbo Seeder

The system requires at least 12 hp per foot of width, so 120 hp is needed for the 10-foot unit, as an example.

Front gangs on the Terra-Max can be adjusted from 0 to 8 degrees, while the rear coulter gangs can be adjusted proportionally from 0 to 6 degrees.

Partnering with Bayer

A tillage company partnering with a program focused on sequestering carbon? Great Plains has been involved with planting cover crops as the HS9100 shows, and is working on exploring how vertical tillage and other approaches may be part of a sustainable system where no-till doesn’t work.

Great Plains is teaming up with ForGround by Bayer to support the adoption of regenerative ag practices. Part of that involves helping farmers transition from full tillage to no-till, a process that can take time, according to Blake Bergkamp, research agronomist at Great Plains.

“We’re excited that this partnership can focus on sustainable crop systems [and] soil management, and help educate about the benefits of vertical tillage and reducing paces,” Bergkamp says.

The Turbo-Seeder and Great Plains box drills already have a role in planting cover crops, and for the initial steps of the partnership, ForGround members can get a benefit when buying a box drill:

  • $50-per-foot discount on new Great Plains box drills

  • subscription to Climate FieldView Plus

  • exclusive agronomic articles and resources

  • access to Bayer’s U.S. Carbon Program, with revenue opportunities and special offers

James Shurts, president of Great Plains’ ag division, notes the partnership will also include agronomic research. “It will inform future equipment design and research for a better understanding of soil health,” he says.

Carbon programs’ strict requirements, in general, are evolving, and Shurts sees potential for the future, noting that sustainable tillage has a place. But more research is needed. This partnership gives the company access to research opportunities for the future.

To learn more about the new tillage tools, visit greatplainsag.com.

Read more about:

Conventional Tillage

About the Author(s)

Willie Vogt

Willie Vogt has been covering agricultural technology for more than 40 years, with most of that time as editorial director for Farm Progress. He is passionate about helping farmers better understand how technology can help them succeed, when appropriately applied.

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