K-Line unveils its stubble-handling system

25 Dec, 2013 01:00 AM
Checking out the Trashcutter during the Northam trials were K-Line part-owner Bill Larsen and Farmpower Kulin's Greg Tyley.
It won't be too long before burning stubbles is no longer an option,
Checking out the Trashcutter during the Northam trials were K-Line part-owner Bill Larsen and Farmpower Kulin's Greg Tyley.

K-Line Industries, Cowra, New South?Wales, last week announced a concerted marketing push into WA.

Equipped with a Trashcutter and a Speedtiller, it has appointed the Farmpower group as its first major dealers in WA.

Part owner and sales manager Bill Larsen oversaw trials of the machines at Northam, talking with farmers about the company's products he describes as a new system for handling stubble,

It has been extensively developed in conjunction with agronomists and farmers requiring a better system for stubble management.

"It won't be too long before burning stubbles is no longer an option," Mr Larsen said.

"Encroaching environmental laws in Europe and North America will eventually be forced on Australian farmers."

But he says the upside is the positive benefits of retaining stubble.

"Farmers know the benefits of traditional tillage methods and mulching stubble, as opposed to removing or burning," he said.

"Stubble retention leads to increased microbial activity, resulting in improved retention of moisture, reduced fertiliser requirements and increased carbon content of soil."

According to Mr Larsen, the Trashcutter system represents a breakthrough in trash and stubble management.

Now patented in Australia, the advanced design lays the stubble to one side and then slices the stubble and bruises, with self-sharpening discs, into short lengths.

The angle of aggression and operating depth can also be hydraulically adjusted to vary effectiveness for weed control and the mulching of the trash.

"The secret to the effectiveness of the Trashcutter are the gangs of lay bars at the front of the machine," Mr Larsen said.

"They are made in gangs of three and are designed to float so they can break out if rocks are a problem.

"The lay bars push the stubble down in front of self-sharpening discs, so it's a comb and cut action.

"Because the stubble is treated in this way, it is cut into short lengths but the crown remains in place to act as an anchor and therefore protect the soil against wind erosion.

"And importantly, the action of the Trashcutter doesn't bunch the stubble."

Hydraulic adjustment allows for shallow or deep working, depending on soil types and conditions and the patent-pending design of the machine allows wings to be folded backwards for a transport width of 3.5 metres (11.5ft).

Working widths range between 9m (30ft) and 18m (60ft).

"The hydraulic control gives you plenty of options and we are finding farmers wanting to use the Trashcutter in front of the airseeder, to cut melon vines and create a little more stubble mulching," Mr Larsen said.

"In fact the system has become so popular with Eastern States farmers we are selling less coulters (fixed to the front of seeding bars)."

It is envisaged the Trashcutter will find popularity in the broadacre areas of the Wheatbelt, with initial focus on the Mid West, eastern Great Southern and South Coast.

The Speedtiller primarily is aimed at stubble mulching.

"It's the only one of its type that is built in Australia," Mr Larsen said. "We sell between 120 and 130 machines a year into Eastern States markets."

Marketed as "The 3Es" by K-Line, it covers a range of applications that include efficient seedbed preparation, effective weed control and excellent stubble incorporation.

"With the growing problem of fleabane along the South Coast, the Speedtiller can help combat it (Fleabane is a weed with a high tolerance to chemicals).

"The Speedtiller effectively cuts them out of the ground, chopping them up and allowing trash flow through tined machines."

With a full soil disturbance, trash is cut and distributed evenly providing a protective barrier to retain moisture.

All discs are individually mounted on rubber suspensions with heavy duty bearing assemblies allowing maximum working depths and excellent soil conditioning due to the disc arm action and offset.

A depth gauging roller is provided at the rear giving the desired crumbling effect on the soil profile with resultant ideal seedbed preparation.

The Speedtiller operates best at high speeds, recommended between 10km/h and 14km/h, but it also can be supplied in vineyard and orchard models.

Working widths range between 1.75m (6ft) and 9m (30ft), with full hydraulic lift and fold.

According to Mr Larsen, the Speedtiller is sometimes mistaken for an offset disc.

"I think it is vastly superior and can be used for a lot more applications than the traditional offset disc," he said.

"The Speedtiller has been used in mature fleabane, wheat stubble, corn to cereals to melons and owners report big savings in time, fuel and other costs.

"It will chop and mulch and you can go in as deep as five inches (17.5cm) just like an offset."

p More information: Farmpower branches at Quairading, Kulin, Northam and Merredin.

Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson

is Farm Weekly's machinery writer


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