There is no doubting zero-tillage farming has delivered farmers huge benefits, but also some challenges. These include soil-based challenges such as lime incorporation to aid amelioration at depth, weed resistance to chemicals and the ability to handle stubble. These challenges have seen some of the industry’s most avid no-tillers look to options to solve these problems, including strategic tillage.
Leading the pack of tillage tools is the high speed disc tiller, which has seen exponential growth in sales over the past five years. In the April edition of Farming Ahead magazine, Kondinin Group’s research team profiles equipment and owner experiences of the ever-expanding range of disc speed tillers.
The Report covers a wide range of disc machines as well as a couple of disc chain models and how they are best used. Ease of set up and operation are big factors when it comes to high speed disc tillers, which can operate at speeds up to 16km/h. Disc hub maintenance is another focus area as some of the wider machines (up to 16m) can have more than 100 discs.
The Report also notes a five-year GRDC-funded project led by former NSW Department of Primary industries soil scientist, Dr Mark Conyers, who concluded that where required to address agronomic limitations, damage to soil structure caused by tillage is generally small, reducing Wet Aggregate Stability (WAS) by 5-10%.
WAS is a measure of soil resistance to breaking down in a wet state. Testing WAS involves placing a known weight of soil aggregates on a sieve and exposing it to a standardised rainfall simulator. Unstable aggregates slake and pass through the sieve while stable aggregates remain on the sieve. WAS is used as a measure of soil health as stable aggregates are built by biological activity.
More detail is available in the April edition of Farming Ahead.