Variable Depth Cultivation

Variable depth cultivations can help reduce the cost of tillage, increase average work rates and improve soil structures. SOYL’s Autodepth controller, developed in collaboration with Cultivating Solutions, uses a high level of precision to cut costs and improve weed control, including black-grass. Its benefits include:

  • Optimised fuel consumption
  • Increased average work rate
  • Soil structure improvements
  • Accurate machine control in shallow soils
  • Suitable for sub-soilers and min-till

To cultivate successfully, soil needs to be friable and cultivating at a universal depth often leads to compromise in fields with variable soil types; clay soils, for example, dry out more slowly than sandy soils. A cultivator can damage the soil by smearing the wet clay, creating compacted layers and impeding plant root growth, nutrient and moisture uptake and ultimately reducing yield. Operating at a constant depth also consumes unnecessary fuel.

The Autodepth automatically adjusts the height of the roller, altering the working depth of the subsoiling leg and avoiding the universal depth cultivations of traditional cultivators. Information from soil or weed maps enables the working depth of soil loosening tines to be varied on the move. Working only at the depth it needs to requires less diesel too; in field trials, fuel consumption was cut by 20% in the heaviest parts of the field, with no detrimental effect to the cultivation being carried out.

The SOYL AutoDepth controller can be retrofitted to most hydraulically controlled cultivators. It works well with other SOYL services; results can be assessed using SOYLsight and compaction, soil texture and weed population maps can be accessed via website portal MySOYL, which can also generate the cultivation plans used to control the equipment.

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