GERALDTON manufacturer Nufab Equipment is building what can only be described as a ‘mother’ of a spader.
It is based on the spader Badgingarra farmer David Hayes designed and is fitted with ‘spades’ designed by David from grader blades to inhibit soil fluffing up.
With a 6.1 metre working width, it is designed for controlled traffic farming with a yet-to-be disclosed unique method of maintaining the integrity of traffic lines.
The spader comprises two heavy duty rotors with 24 ‘spades’ attached to each rotor and housed in a specially-designed steel chassis incorporating a drawbar and a row to attach leading ‘ripper’ tynes.
A QSMII 11 litre 298 kilowatt (400 horsepower) Cummins engine will be mounted on the drawbar to increase horsepower requirements to drive the rotors – PTOs alone will not be able to supply the necessary power.
According to company principal Peter Nunn, he expects the engine to run to 75 per cent capacity, providing 224kW (300hp).
“The engine has a centrifugal clutch to drive each rotor through a planetary gearbox and chain design,” Mr Nunn said.
“If there are any overloading problems, the clutch stops and the engine is programmed to idle.
“I envisage a high horsepower front-wheel assist tractor will be able to do the job because the spader is designed to push the tractor.”
Mr Nunn said that “technically”, the spader could be towed behind a deep ripper.
“And there’s the option for a row of leading hydraulic jump tynes that can be fitted to work at 500 millimetres with the spader working to a depth of more than 400mm,” he said.
“The idea is to make it easier to work the spader in tougher soil types.
“And we’ve designed it so you can work with different spacings.”
Mr Nunn said he also was building a new deep ripper with shallow leading tynes, working 200mm shallower than the rear tynes.
“It will be our 2018 Hydramax model which will be designed to dig more than 800mm with adjustable working depth capacity,” he said.
“Currently our most popular tyne is for workings to 600mm deep on 600mm spacings.
“The new model will add that extra flexibility to dig to whatever depth you need, to get rid of compaction, while at the same time gaining a 25pc reduction in draft.
“We can build machines to go deeper but we suggest farmers speak with their agronomist and research trial work by the ag department to assess their requirements.”
Spading remains a serious option for farmers wanting to eliminate non-wetting soils and while there has been a growing adoption – based on positive anecdotal and trial evidence – it is a slow process, calculated at about nine hectares an hour at a working rate of 8-9km/h.
“The machines in the market can do that now but they are only 4.5m and don’t fit into controlled traffic farming,” Mr Nunn said.
“We believe there is a fit for a spader specially designed for controlled traffic and with the flexibility to tackle different soil types.”
The new spader will be officially unveiled at next month’s McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo.