A growing number of farmers have started incorporating tillage into their farm management that addresses specific agronomic needs, according to Jim Balstad, vice president of sales and marketing for LEMKEN USA. This company is one of the leaders in developing a line of tools to meet strategic tillage needs.
The concept of strategic tillage started with the launch of the first compact disc harrow back in 2001. That implement was known as the Rubin 9 and since then LEMKEN has developed a full line of compact disc harrows that allow farmers to perform intensive stubble cultivation at high working speeds in one pass to achieve uniform mixing of organic matter in any soil type, crop or farming system.
“As farmers critically assess the agronomic needs on their farms, we’re increasingly seeing them turn to strategic tillage to address many of those needs,” Balstad said.
He notes that strategic tillage is now used across the United States to resolve some of the following challenges farmers face:
- Mixing large volumes of organic matter evenly into the soil in one pass for efficient trash management while minimizing labor and fuel costs.
- Mechanically killing weeds, including herbicide-resistant weeds.
- Disrupting disease and pest cycles and interrupting the evolution of fungicide resistance.
- Encouraging weed seeds to germinate in the fall or before a pre-season herbicide application to maximize the effectiveness of the herbicide.
- Improving soil structure and water infiltration.
- Smoothing out ruts in fields to improve seeder and sprayer operations.
- Breaking up pastures.
- Managing the effect of severe weather variability by reclaiming land around low spots and ponds.
Since the introduction of the Rubin 9 almost two decades ago, LEMKEN USA has continued to develop new products to resolve certain tillage challenges.
To answer a need for shallower stubble cultivation that also provides one-pass seedbed preparation in light and medium soils at a working depth of up to 4 inches, the Heliodor machine – released in 2005 – has widths of up to 52 feet. The need for a heavier machine which would allow deeper cultivation in heavier soils and dense corn residue resulted in the release of the Rubin 12 compact disc harrow in 2013. This unit offers 29-inch diameter discs and a single pass working depth of up to 8 inches.
New Rubin 10 introduced – Design specialists at LEMKEN felt there was a need to develop a new machine that fully bridged the gap between the Heliodor and the Rubin 12 that would meet growers’ mid-range tillage needs – and the Rubin 10 idea became a reality.
Once production starts in 2019, the Rubin 10 will replace the Rubin 9 as the company’s mid-range compact disc, Balstad noted.
The Rubin 10 offers the same intensive uniform mixing as the Rubin 9 at shallow depths of up to 5.5 inches, and will handle heavy trash more aggressively. This is a result of bigger, stronger discs that measure 25 inches in diameter.
It also delivers more efficient field performance with its new symmetrical disc arrangement on both sides of the machine. This eliminates lateral pull, ensuring the machine pulls straight, which reduces fuel consumption.
The discs are surfaced-hardened DuraMass discs that give up to 30 percent longer service life than conventional discs and each disc is equipped with override protection that significantly minimizes frame loads when discs hit obstacles in the field.
The integrated harrow behind the first row of discs and the rear impact and leveling harrow improve the crumbling and distribution of soil and organic matter for an even, seedbed-ready finish, he said.
“LEMKEN’s ongoing development of compact disc harrows and other strategic tillage tools continues to be driven by farmer demand for effective strategic tillage solutions that address agronomic challenges in a single pass while leaving the field seedbed ready,” Balstad said.
LEMKEN announces new acquisition – In an effort to bolster their strategic tillage line-up, the company announced the purchase of two divisions of the Dutch company, STEKETTE. This will allow LEMKEN to add innovative hoeing technology for mechanical weed control and develop advanced camera technology. This will allow the machine to hoe between the rows and between plants within a row.
“This took STEKETTE four to five years to develop,” Balstad said, “and I see it taking a couple years for LEMKEN to develop ways to incorporate that into their strategic tillage pursuit, where they continue to provide those tools that farmers are going to need.”