Vertical Tillage Done Right
Plant earlier, till longer with Sunflower’s new 6630.
Larry Kuster, AGCO product marketing specialist for Sunflower seeding and tillage products, admits that Sunflower was a latecomer to the vertical tillage market. It didn’t introduce its 6630 vertical tillage system until this past fall. But better late than never, and better to wait until the kinks were all worked out, so Sunflower could offer a superior product, says Kuster.
“During our observations, we kept seeing problems with the machines that were on the market,” he explains, “like blades that quickly became dull, affecting the machine’s performance. Consequently, we didn’t want to introduce our Sunflower system until we got it right.”
Now available in five models ranging from 21 to 32 feet, the 6630 efficiently cuts through tough residue and opens cold, wet soils to the warming action of the sun, allowing producers to plant up to 10 days earlier in the spring. The 6630 also offers the advantage of the patent-pending Saber blades, which feature a unique fluted wave pattern that incorporates 25 flutes with a 1½-inch concavity into the 22-inch blade. Consequently, the blades easily cut through tough residue, efficiently till the soil and provide an extremely long wear life.
“Thanks to the unique design of the Saber blade, we’ve had prototype machines that are still performing like new after covering more than 5,000 acres,” Kuster says.
He adds that farmers using competitive machines were also experiencing problems with residue blowing or washing away after it had been sized. Hence, Sunflower engineers set the front and rear gangs at an 18-degree angle to mix residues with a variable amount of soil.
“The ratios of soil to residue can be easily controlled by changing the depth of the tool,” he says. “An operating depth of 1 to 2 inches will size the crop residue and mix it with just enough soil to anchor the material and protect it against erosion. To lift more soil and enhance the decomposition process, the operator simply drops the operating depth to 3 or 3½ inches.”
Mark Eddelman, a corn grower from Dongola, Ill., says he was “very pleased” with the Sunflower 6630 he used in corn stubble this past fall.
“I had tried out a competitive vertical tillage machine earlier,” he says, “but you could still see where all the rows had been when I finished. The 6630 not only sized the stalks, but lightly tilled the ground in the process. The root balls looked like you’d pulled them out of the ground and knocked every bit of dirt from them. I think I could actually go straight into the field with the planter if I wanted to.”
To learn more about Sunflower’s vertical tillage system, visit www.sunflowermfg.com.