Quality seedbed preparation is the foundation for optimal production per hectare. It’s also important to choose the right machine for the application.
- Minimum tillage – disc tillers: for working the top 100mm and incorporating crop reside. These machines, with an average ground speed of 10 km/hr, would have to be one of the fastest and most effective tillage machines available. Normal configuration is two rows of discs with opposing angles of cut, followed by a cage roller for firming the seedbed and minimising moisture loss.
- Disc harrows: for primary and secondary cultivation. Available in offset or tandem configuration (looks an X from above) these machines are ideal for incorporating crop residue, seedbed preparation and working in soil amelioration products such as gypsum.
- Rotary hoes: usually for secondary cultivation where incorporation of crop residue and a fine seedbed is required. Soil friability can be controlled accurately by adjusting power input, ground speed and the discharge rate past the machine’s tailgate. Especially useful for when seed to soil contact needs to be consistent. The sowing of fine seeds vegetables would be a typical application.
- Power Harrows: used as a secondary cultivation machine usually after ploughing. Weed seeds that have been buried by full inversion cultivation will remain buried rather than being brought back to the surface. Power harrows break down clods and provide a consistent and even seedbed.
- Cultivators: mostly used for weed control and breaking down clods. The seedbed quality they produce is average – where seed to soil contact is not critical. Usually this suits coarse seeds rather than fine seeds.
- Harrows: dragged along behind the tractor they are used to further break down clods or ensure coverage of seeds whilst leaving a level result. Sowing new pastures a typical application. At times they can be used for a light aeration of the soil and spreading stock manure