The new 3-metre transport version of Great Plains’ most successful vertical tillage implement, the Turbo-Max, made its SIMA debut this year. Showcased on the company’s stand in Hall 6 was the 8-metre model, which has recently been joined by a 3m and 6-metre version for the narrow transport market.
Used primarily as a seedbed preparation tool ahead of planting or drilling, the 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 Simon Revell, Great Plains Export Director, 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 maybe needed dependant on ground conditions. 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
A mounted 3-metre example from Great Plains’ recently launched X-PressVX short disc harrow range also made its SIMA debut.
The new-look X-PressVX, available in both mounted and trailed versions, has an improved chassis, which accommodates a range of new specification options without compromising the generous amount of trash clearance between both sets of discs and the rear roller. The use of tubular steel to the wing sections enables the machine to handle increased torque loadings.
Hitherto only available on the larger 8 and 10-metre trailed models, all new mounted and trailed X-PressVXunits now offer the option of a levelling board. This helps to present the soil more effectively to the following rear roller, creating a finer tilth and improving seedbed preparation – especially useful in secondary cultivation operations within, for example, a plough-based system. The levelling board on mounted units is manually adjustable. Hydraulic adjustment from the tractor cab is available as an option on trailed units.
Manually operated on mounted units and hydraulically operated on trailed machines, depth adjustment has been updated to bring the X-PressVX in line with other machines within the range.
Spring clip spacers now provide more settings for depth control and facilitate quicker, easier depth adjustment for the operator.
Disc angling options remain a key competitive advantage for the X-PressVX. The new models continue to offer fully adjustable disc angling between 0° and 25°, providing real flexibility in terms of how aggressively the soil is worked. To assist with grass weed control, discs can be set to work shallow and at full angle, disturbing the soil across the full profile of the cultivator to chit weed seeds behind the combine. Alternatively discs can be set to work deeper with less of an angle to thoroughly mix trash. Disc working depths can be selected between 50 and 150mm to suit soil conditions and trash levels.
Hydraulically controlled gang angle adjustment from the cab is now available as an optional alternative to the manual turnbuckle operation of the disc angling function.
Disc blade choices include notched cultivation discs or SoilRazor discs, both of which are available in 508mm diameter on mounted units. Trailed models come with a choice of 508mm and 560mm diameter notched or SoilRazor discs allowing for a progressive cultivation option varying front to rear. The SoilRazors will find favour with those users who need to chop and size really tough crop residues such as maize
The two rows of discs continue to be individually mounted on Great Plains Pro-Active disc units, which, with a trip height of 120mm, provide protection against stone damage and improved contour following while maintaining a consistent depth at high forward speeds. Disc spacings remain at 250mm on both front and rear gangs giving a net disc spacing between gangs of 125mm.
Side deflectors are also added to the list of new options available with the new X-PressVX range and will be a welcome addition for users who are working lighter soils and wish to limit the soil throw from the discs.
Both mounted and trailed units are available with a choice of consolidation rollers.
Adding to its versatility for both primary and secondary cultivations, mounted units are available with the new, improved ST BarVX at the front of the machine. This tool bar transforms the X-PressVX into a one-pass cultivator which can restructure the soil, taking out compaction caused by harvest traffic, down to a depth of 250mm.
All X-PressVX models fold down to 3-metres for transport. Trailed units utilise a ‘wheels over the back’ design, which, together with a wide axle track, increases stability during road transport.
Mounted X-PressVX models are available in 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 metre working widths with the trailed units coming in widths of 5.0, 6.0 and 7.0 metres. The 8.0 and 10.0 metre models in the existing X-Press range are retained. Depending on specification and working width, the power requirement for mounted units (without ST BarVX) ranges from around 70hp to 180hp and from 140hp to 480hp across the trailed model range.
At SIMA, Great Plains is exhibiting the 4-metre version of its Saxon CDA range of minimal disturbance drills which also includes 3-metre and 6-metre grain only models plus grain and fertiliser variants for all three working widths.
Equipped with the Great Plains ‘zonal cultivation and seeding system’ which comprises the manufacturer’s Turbo Coulter discs and 00 Series opener, the Saxon is designed to meet the need for minimal disturbance and, if required, for cutting through and drilling into high volumes of residue. This, says Great Plains, makes the drill a highly effective tool as part of a cultural strategy of control in the battle against resistant grass weeds – a growing problem that is affecting yields across much of western Europe.
“The Saxon has performed exceptionally well in resistant grass weed trials in the UK and has proved to be ideally suited for use in cover crop rotations where the crop has been sprayed off and minimal soil disturbance is necessary to help prevent the emergence of yet-to-germinate grass weed seeds,” explained Great Plains Export Director, Simon Revell.
“The Turbo Coulter and 00 Series opener combination is an innovative and well-proven Great Plains design,” he explained. “It offers excellent seed placement with minimum disturbance between the rows and reduced risk of hair-pinning. Each Turbo Coulter disc is in line with the trailing double disc opener. The angle wave profile of the Turbo Coulter disc creates a mini-seedbed in a finely tilled 10 to 50mm strip of soil into which the seeds will actually be planted and provides every row with equal growing conditions. The flutes enter the soil perpendicular to the ground for maximum cutting performance with less down pressure. The same flutes exit the soil parallel to the ground for a controlled soil release, leaving the soil between the rows almost completely undisturbed.
“The ‘Double V’ press wheel option helps to cover the seed by pinching the slot, creating optimum soil to seed contact, especially when working without cultivation in wetter soils,” he added.
The Turbo Coulter discs run ahead of a tyre packer, which says Great Plains offers the largest diameter and widest profile currently available on the market and provides highly consistent consolidation in front of Great Plains’ well proven 00 Series openers. It also provides even weight distribution across the full width of the drill.
Designed for use in reduced tillage establishment systems and across a wide range of soil types and conditions, the Saxon, says Great Plains, can also operate very efficiently in no till conditions where the soil structure allows.
The Saxon’s sister drill, the Centurion CDA shares the same features around seed delivery and consolidation but, instead of Turbo Coulters, is equipped with notched cultivation discs. These provide maximum disturbance across the full width of the drill. The Centurion is ideally suited for work in plough-based and reduced tillage systems.
A major benefit of the Saxon and Centurion ranges says Great Plains is that the disc sets are interchangeable. The Saxon’s Turbo Coulters can be removed and replaced by the Centurion’s notched cultivation discs, and vice-versa, relatively quickly and easily on the farm by two people. This, claims the manufacturer, effectively provides two different drills designed to perform very different tasks in one machine package.
Saxon and Centurion 3-metre, 4-metre and 6-metre drills sow 18, 24 and 36 rows respectively at 167mm spacing. Each 00 Series coulter incorporates a seed flap guiding seed close to the opener bottom, eliminating seed bounce.
Hydraulically adjustable down pressure in the range of 40kg to 160kg ensures the 00 Series coulters operate at consistent depth in all soil types. New opener rail geometry maximises the transfer of weight to the coulter and press wheel by keeping the coulter arm parallel to the ground. This ensures accuracy of seeding depth and control over down pressure especially in difficult conditions.
The seed distribution system is variable rate ready. It comprises injection-moulded seed distribution heads with optional tramline shut-offs and seed blockage monitors to accurately deliver seed to each coulter with the ability to shut off each row individually for wider row spacing if required.
Great Plains has introduced a new meter housing design for easy access and a new modular seed drum system the helical design ensures seed is always being metered consistently eliminating pulsing so consistent spacing in the linear row is achieved. The reworked Venturi increases efficiency of the air flow, coupled with the redesign in the distribution tower and distribution head, seed metered to the coulter is more evenly divided and spaced. Seed calibration is also easy and convenient, says the manufacturer. With seed calibration mode selected from the cab, the operator simply walks to the rear of the drill where a dedicated pipe delivers the metered amount.
Hopper sizes are 3000-litres as standard on 3-metre and 4-metre drills, with a 4000-litre hopper available as an option, whilst the 6-metre models come with the 4000-litre tank as standard. Grain and fertiliser drill hoppers can be split 50/50 or 60/40 between grain and fertiliser.
Hopper weigh cells can be fitted as an option. Working via the hydraulic control system, these ensure the hopper’s weight is evenly distributed right across the drill’s width no matter how much grain it contains. Other options include new hydraulic sprung track eradicators, hydraulic full-width levelling board, press wheel scrapers and harrows, hydraulic bout markers, pre-emergence markers, air or hydraulic brakes and camera kits.
Control is via a Mueller ISOBUS-ready system and a choice of display terminals is available.