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Next big thing in tillage

Next big thing in tillage

In the February issue of Farm Industry News, we told you about a new type of vertical tillage implement that uses ultra-shallow, hybrid coulter-discs to slice up corn stalks left behind by high-yielding, genetically modified corn. (See  .)    .  .    ) .) As their name implies, these tillage tools enter the soil vertically to clear a straight open path for roots to grow.

Around a dozen companies market these implements, and all share the same basic design: gangs of hybrid coulters or discs followed by some type of finishing attachment that breaks up clods and levels ruts to make a level seedbed.

After reading the story, Jeremy Hughes, sales manager for Horsch Anderson, told me about what he believes is the next big thing in tillage equipment: “compact discs.” (See image.) Dave Kanicki, executive editor of Farm Equipment, wrote a great story about these tools last month. Like the implements we wrote about, this type of tillage tool can run at high speeds (8-12 mph) and shallow working depths to cover a lot of ground quickly, Kanicki reports. He says the difference is that the blades run at an angle to incorporate more soil than the hybrid coulter-discs so the residue can decompose faster. Because soil is displaced, they are not classified as vertical tillage tools.

These “compact discs” originated in Europe but are starting to be marketed here. Horsch Anderson’s tool is called the Joker, as shown on this youtube video:

“We have a fast growing number of these working across the U.S. and Canada, and more recently exported to Australia,” Hughes says. “We see this technology as the upcoming accepted practice above and beyond typical cutting coulter-type vertical tillage tools.”

For more information on the Joker, contact Horsch Anderson, 14118 414th Avenue, Andover, South Dakota 57422, 605-298-5663, or visit  

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