Variable depth cultivator on show at Tillage Live

Growers attending this year’s Tillage Live event will have the opportunity to see live demonstrations of the latest development in variable depth cultivation.

The results of collaboration between SOYL and Cultivating Solutions will be on show at the event, in Gloucestershire on 10th September, for the first time since becoming commercially available. The new equipment allows growers to implement variable rate cultivations to cut costs and improve control of weeds, including black-grass, with increased efficiency using a high level of precision.

SOYL and Cultivating Solutions have worked together to develop control systems for the Titan and RapidLift cultivator. This enables the working depth of soil loosening tines to be varied according to information from soil or weed maps produced by SOYL’s compaction mapping service, SubSOYL.

SOYL's research and development manager, David Whattoff, explains: “Cultivating Solutions were already working on low disturbance cultivation systems and the managing director, Richard Scholes, could see the potential for reduced depth cultivations using SOYL’s application maps.”

“After variable rate fertiliser and seeding, increasing the precision of cultivations is a logical step,” comments Richard Scholes. “Black-grass control is a particular concern for growers. Avoiding mixing the layers of soil helps to keep black-grass seeds on the surface where they will germinate for easier control; this is effectively achieved by less aggressive loosening.”

He adds: “Soil loosening legs can be set to any position, from being completely out of work to a depth of up to 300mm, so parameters can be set to suit the conditions and requirements of the user. Low disturbance legs also cut fuel costs, which will be reduced further by only working at depth where it is necessary.”

SOYL's patented variable depth control unit, Autodepth, automatically adjusts the height of the roller, altering the working depth of the subsoiling leg. Calculating the required distance between a sensor on the subsoiler headstock and the plate on the end of the ram lifts or lowers the roller. The control unit can be retrofitted to existing RapidLift and Titan machines and can also be factory fitted to new implements.

Cultivating Solutions’ Titan combination cultivator is a ‘Smart Cultivator’ featuring an innovative In-cab controller enabling all the cultivation elements to be raised or lowered individually to suit conditions.

RapidLift is a drill-mounted low disturbance soil loosening implement, which can also be used to combine the benefits of soil loosening and the increased accuracy of a drill when establishing oilseed rape. It is also available in fully mounted format (RLM) with a rear towing hitch. The RLM remains at a fixed height while the low disturbance loosening legs move independently, so the height of the following implement is not affected.

The cultivator works well with other SOYL services; results can be assessed using UAV technology, SOYLsight, and compaction, soil texture and weed population maps can be accessed via website portal MySOYL, which can also generate cultivation plans used to control the implement.

Mr Scholes concluded: “We expect the RapidLift in particular to be popular with growers and believe there is great potential to increase margins, especially for oilseed rape. This is a good opportunity for SOYL customers to get even more out of their maps for a comparatively small investment.”


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