Tillage tools have come a long way since the first 5-foot disk without wheels that you might have placed on a homemade wooden drag to move down the road. Otherwise you would leave marks in the road.
Most companies offer some form of high-speed tillage tool, often a disk. This article and accompanying slideshow look at many of the current options, which were on display at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky., earlier this year.
“As an industry, we’ve changed the rules for tillage equipment today,” says Curt Davis, director of marketing and product management for Kuhn Krause. “Today it’s about speed and how the industry and farmers adjust to it. Most people no longer want to till at 5 to 6 miles per hour. They want to be able to go up to 10 miles per hour.”
Why the interest in high-speed tillage tools? “Individual growers have more acres to cover today,” Davis says. “Plus, the weather is more volatile. If you can speed up the number of acres you cover per day, you can increase efficiency. It’s all about preparing a seedbed while managing fuel costs. Every dollar counts today.”
High-speed tillage tools
Here’s a peek at some of the options you can choose from today for conventional tillage. Not all these models are brand-new; some are simply the latest model in a company’s lineup. It’s not an all-inclusive list.
Kongskilde 9000 Series Vertical Tillage System. This machine can be pulled 8 to 12 mph and runs as a true vertical-tillage machine if conditions are right. However, it has a wide range of gang angles, which allow you to run the machine more aggressively. There are five preset gang angles to choose from. This allows you to cut tough stalks in the fall, if necessary. Go as deep as 5 inches with aggressive tillage if you choose. The machine comes with spiral rollers to add versatility if you’re using it in the spring to finish a seedbed. You pin the rollers up out of the way in the fall if desired. The machine is available in a wide range of widths. Learn more at kongskilde.com.
Kinze Mach Till. The Mach Till was designed to cover lots of acres, running 8 to 12 mph. Spokespeople say it was also designed to cut and throw soil at an angle to avoid smearing and creating a soil compaction layer. Each disk is mounted on an independent arm with 11.5 inches of clearance to clear rocks and follow along in rolling fields. Four preloaded rubber spring elements help it skate over rocks. It features the Otico rubber furrow roller to lift and break up the soil. The unit also features maintenance-free, double-sealed bearings. Four models are available in working widths from 20 to 40 feet. Visit kinze.com.
Kuhn Krause Interceptor 8050. The Interceptor 8050 is a high-speed tillage tool that can cut and size residue while preparing a seedbed at the same time. It features independently mounted, Excalibur CT conservation-tillage blades and adjustable tines. Spokespeople say the real advantage of this fast-moving tool is that it can cover lots of acres in a hurry and still do an excellent job of incorporating corn residue into the soil. It also comes with Star Wheel Treaders patented by Kuhn Krause. The machine is available in working widths from 20 to 30 feet. Learn more at kuhn-usa.com.
Landoll 7500 VT Plus. Technically, the Landoll 75VT Plus is the newest version of Landoll’s vertical-tillage machine. The major change in this high-speed tillage tool is that it now features adjustable gang angles. It’s billed as the Landoll 7500 VT with Adjustable Gangs. That’s how important the company believes the new feature is to more efficient operation in varying conditions. You can change gang angles on the go from 5 to 15 degrees hydraulically without stopping. There is an infinite number of settings between 5 and 15 degrees. The current gang angle displays on an easy-to-see mechanical identifier on the machine. The front and back gangs adjust together so the various parts of the machine stay in line with each other. Contact Landoll at 785-738-6613 or landoll.com.
McFarlane Incite 5151. New to McFarlane’s Incite Universal Tillage line is the 5151, with a working width of 51 feet, 3 inches. It becomes the largest in the Incite lineup, which includes models down to 14 feet. These tools are designed as single-pass tillage tools that can be used in spring or fall, spokespeople say. Suggested operating speed is 6 to 9 mph. The previous largest model in the line, the 5140, at about 40 feet, was rated to cover 24 to 36 acres per hour, depending upon speed. The 28-wave concave blades made from Ingersoll’s boron alloy steel allow versatility to work at high speed in shallow depths or go up to 6 inches deep, more like a traditional disk. Disk angle adjustment on the go allows you to vary from 3, 6 or 9 degrees of angle. Contact McFarlane at 888-627-8569 or mcfarlanemfg.com.
Norwood Sales Kwik-Till. The Kwik-Till Series from Norwood Sales Inc. is designed to deliver high-speed tillage that allows you to cover a large amount of acreage in a short time. Choose from as small as an 8-foot rigid model up to a 45-foot trifold unit. Spokespeople say the tool is designed to run at 10 to 15 mph. With the larger models, you can cover up to 75 acres per hour, depending upon speed. The unit features 20-inch disk blades with your choice of notched or plain, flat disks. The front-row gang angle is set at 17 degrees, with the back-row angle at 14 degrees. Independent shanks are 10 inches apart. The blades use a rubber torsion suspension system, and hubs are maintenance-free. Learn more by calling 800-446-0316 or visiting norwoodsales.com.
Versatile Fury. If you’re looking for a high-speed disk that you can run at 8 to 12 mph, check out the Fury High Speed Disc from Versatile. It comes in four models, with cutting width ranging from 25 feet, 5 inches to 40 feet, 5 inches. Each blade arm is independently mounted to the frame through a rubber torsion system. Choose from 20-, 22-, 24- or 26-inch blades. Spokespeople say it’s designed as a one-pass tillage tool that can cut, size, chop and mix residue; it is also perfect for filling ruts. It folds to 12 feet for transport. Running the largest model at high speeds, you can cover up to 70 acres per hour. Visit versatile-ag.com.