December 01, 2015
A new 3-metre transport version of Great Plains’ most successful vertical tillage implement, the Turbo-Max, recently made its Western European debut in Germany at Agritechnica, the world’s largest agricultural machinery trade fair.
Used primarily as a seedbed preparation tool ahead of planting or drilling, the company’s new 8-metre Turbo-Max is a trailed tillage unit essentially comprising two gangs of 51cm coulter blades featuring a patented hydraulically adjustable gang angle system and a choice of different rear roller options. But there is a great deal more to this cultivator than initially meets the eye.
Great Plains describes Turbo-Max as ‘a complete vertical tillage package designed to solve the problem of uneven fields caused by sprayers, combines and other heavy machinery’. It leaves a perfectly level sub-surface, eliminating the issue of planter bounce which can be a major contributor to uneven germination and ultimately reduced yields.
Turbo-Max allows users to change the gang angle on the move to match it to field conditions. Adjustments can be made from 0° to 6°. In the spring, a ‘true vertical’ 0° angle will produce the smoothest sub-surface ahead of planting. In the autumn, users can set the angle at 6° to enable them to bury more residue. Working depths of up to 125mm can be achieved via hydraulic adjustment of wheel height. A unique depth stop feature allows farmers to set hydraulic flow to stop at the exact same working depth every time the implement is lowered into work.
The machine is equipped to carry out a variety of different tasks, as Daniel Rauchholz, President of Great Plains International, explains: “Running the Turbo-Max at its optimum speed of 10-15 kilometers per hour, the two gangs of coulters work the ground vertically avoiding the creation of shear zones, or compaction layers, which can seriously inhibit root growth and reduce yields.
“In the autumn, Turbo-Max can be used as a primary tillage tool after the combine to allow the field to weather over winter. It can also reduce corn borer infestation by chopping maize residue and mixing it into the tilled soil surface. In the spring-time, Turbo-Max can be deployed as a last pass finishing tool prior to seeding the spring crop to help warm-up damp, cool soils and encourage quicker emergence.
“Other applications include using the machine to chit wheat and oilseed rape volunteers or weeds such as black grass. It has found a role in no-till operations too. In certain conditions, straw and residue lock-in nitrogen delaying it from becoming accessible to the crop. This ‘carbon penalty’ is a big reason for yield reductions in direct seeding environments. Thanks to the 190mm spacing between coulters and the configuration of the two gangs, with the rear gang offset from the front, the Turbo-Max sizes residue down to just 95mm and laces it to the ground to hasten decay while mechanically maintaining a uniform soil profile.”
Undulating ground conditions don’t present any difficulties to the Turbo-Max. The wings of the frame can flex downward as much as 10° and upward as high as is necessary. Together with the constant hydraulic down-pressure applied to the wings, this feature allows the Turbo-Max to precisely follow the contours of uneven ground from side to side. Weight per blade of down-pressure is between 114 and 132 kg.
The Turbo-Max can be specified with a number of rear roller options to suit different needs and soil conditions. A single basket roller is available to break up clods whilst a tandem packer comprises a front round bar roller for consolidation and a rear basket roller to deal with clods and level the ground.
Options include weight packs and track removers. Since the Turbo-Max is not a traditional disc-based implement relying on concave blades to penetrate hard difficult ground, weight packs are needed. They are mounted on the centre frame and the hydraulic weight transfer moves weight to the wings to provide even, constant coulter depth across the full width. The track removers are twin discs located behind the tyres with an adjustable height from -25mm to +25mm in three positions.
The new Turbo-Max 8.0 will be available in most Western European markets by late spring 2016.