A new iteration of an old concept has proved wildly successful for Cowra company K-Line Agriculture.
The Speedtiller, a residue incorporation disc tiller designed for high-speed operation, has become a key seller in Australia and overseas since it first appeared in 2010, with the 1000th unit sold recently.
K-Line director Bill Larsen said the success of the machine had been rapid and spawned plenty of interest in local and North American cropping circles since it evolved from a double disc mulcher.
The company has been growing staff numbers at about five a year, with much of the growth attributed to the Speedtiller, and it now exports about 25 per cent of the K-Line plant’s machine’s production.
“The North American export market has been building up since sending the first three units in 2012,” Mr Larsen said.
He said the company’s concentration on demonstrations in North America helped farmers understand the machine’s merits.
“Its different to what the North Americans are supplying, but in the last five years they are starting to adopt the concept.”
The export experience had been a two way street.
“We’ve picked up things by going there that we may not have picked up here locally, and it has positioned the machine in a better place in the world market,” Mr Larsen said.
“The world has become smaller, so if you can't sit on that world stage it is only going to get harder for you as a manufacturer.”
Adding rubber torsion suspension, a heavy frame and coining the name Speedtiller were key elements to the original success.
“Europeans build theses sort of discs for secondary tillage or shallow mulching work but we found some farmers wanted to be able to dig in up to six inches deep,” Mr Larsen said.
“So we re-tweaked our original double disc concept to develop a product which was a primary and secondary tillage combination.”
He said the machine’s ability to address a variety of needs had boosted its success.
“Demand was originally coming from the smaller farmers for cropping and pasture, but in recent years, due to chemical resistant weeds, residue incorporation and compaction issues, there has been a swing to strategic tillage in the broadacre market worldwide.
Other applications the Speedtiller has been successful in include horticulture, viticulture and cane industries, areas of South Australia and Western Australia with non-wetting soils requiring clay incorporation, snail and rodent control, and fire breaks.
It has proven an ideal tool for a one-pass tillage applications with the capacity and weight for primary tillage work, and can be set shallow for lighter secondary tillage applications, providing a seedbed.