Stubble cultivators – Forgotten Heroes or Surplus to Requirements?

Posted by Jason White on May 30, 2019 4:36:09 PM
Jason White
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In recent times the stubble cultivator seems to have been overlooked in the plethora of cultivation options available to the modern day farmer.  We decided to look into what we were missing:

The aims of stubble cultivation have changed in recent years. While in the past stubble cultivation mainly served to control weeds and loosen soils, these days many rely on herbicides to control weeds and a light cultivation of the very top layer of soil is all the cultivation required, in these situations a Vaderstad Carrier or similar disc machine is used.  That’s not to say the old method of a wide wing cutting through the roots of the seedlings isn’t still an effective weapon in the fight against weeds.

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More straw – the incorporation challenge.

There is also new challenges facing farmers today, modern combine harvesters with wider headers have to process very large volumes of straw, which harvesters often struggle to chop optimally or distribute evenly. The resulting large volumes of organic matter and volunteer cereals and weeds then need to be incorporated intensively and evenly, especially when sowing the following crop into a mulch seedbed. At the same time, evaporation of moisture must be prevented.

Stubble cultivators allow fields to be cultivated at various levels, whether at a shallow, medium or greater depth. With shallow cultivation during the first pass, the tines with their wide wings and the following mixing discs incorporate volunteer cereals and organic matter left from the previous crop into the soil close to the surface. The weeds and other volunteer seed are left in the top layer resulting in rapid germination which can then be tackled with herbicides or another pass of cultivation. Organic growers find the stubble cultivator invaluable in their battle against docks etc where they need to cut the roots across the width just below ground level.

The second pass can then be completed at a depth of about 10–15 cm. The wing shares of the cultivator cut underneath the volunteer regrowth, slice it off across the full surface and uproot any seedlings.  The discs then incorporate the trash back into the top layer of soil. The wide wings ensure all the ground is cut and mixed across the width of the implement making it a very good option for post-harvest cultivation to create a stale seedbed.  This gets the weeds chitting and the straw residue rotting.

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Ready for sowing with one cultivator!

If it is intended to sow the fields in mulch later on, but the top soil layer contains large volumes of straw, a third pass can be completed with the stubble cultivator at a deeper depth of up to 30 cm. This deep cultivation loosens the entire topsoil and reduces the density of straw in the upper soil layer, both of which are important prerequisites for successful mulch sowing

Throughout the various manufacturers there are a variety of share designs available, the intensity of cultivation can be optimized to suite individual conditions and requirements. Wide wings are effective at a shallow depth over the full surface during the first pass, you may wish to drop the wings off for the second pass to cultivate at a depth of 10 to 15 cm, but leaving the wings on can be beneficial for weed control. If a deeper third pass is required working at depths of up to 30 cm, narrower shares may be required, these cultivate intensively without increasing traction requirements unnecessarily.

Concave discs behind the tines mix straw and soil once more and ensure that surfaces are level. A trailing roller produces excellent soil reconsolidation to the required degree.

Stubble cultivators are available with shear bolt stone protection or auto reset models with spring loaded legs.

In conclusion we discovered there is still a lot of machine there in a simple stubble cultivator maybe they’re a good reliable option for cultivation after harvest.  We always keep a number of machines and widths in stock and in talking to some of our recent buyers of them the feedback has been very positive.  One local farmer commenting on the excellent incorporation and seedbed creation that he had achieved.  So if you’re looking for a cost effective cultivator for the coming season why not look at our range here or enquire about hiring one of these versatile machines.

Topics: Case Studies, News, Arable

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