Vertical Tillage With an Edge

The rugged, easily adjustable Sunflower 6600 Series Vertical Tillage System allows producers to manage residue, while protecting soil from erosion. By Des Keller

By Des Keller

The Sunflower 6600 Series Vertical Tillage System has an edge—actually lots of them. Among the more noticeable are the tool’s serrated Saber blades that aggressively cut through heavy crop residue. The blades, sporting 25 flutes apiece, mix soil and plant debris at various depths for just the right blend of erosion-controlling surface cover and residue decomposition.

“The serrated edge on the Saber blade does the same thing a serrated steak knife does,” says Larry Kuster, AGCO senior product marketing specialist. “They tend to maintain their edge, and the Saber blade does that exceptionally well.”

Ensuring that serrated edge was put to its best use on the blade itself, Kuster explains, “We spent considerable time testing different versions of more flutes or fewer flutes, and Sunflower R&D determined that 25 was the number. These fluted blades had the best performance in lifting material—not just residue but soil, too.”

The 6600 Series has been a very popular tool with farmers, according to Kuster, in part because it can do double duty, working the soil in both fall and spring. “The depth of the blades can be changed so that, in the fall, aggressive lifting action can be used to do a good job of incorporating residue,” he says. “In the spring, the vertical tillage tool can be set to perform a shallow pass to just open up the soil for faster warm-up.”

Setting the machine is easy with a front-mounted, single-point depth control that adjusts with the turn of a handle. Meanwhile, hydraulic leveling performed from the cab takes care of front-to-rear orientation.

Since time is nearly always at a premium on the farm, the 6600 Series can work at a quick clip. The 6631, the second-generation in the series, does a great job running at 8 mph “due in large part to its longer length and rugged, welded steel tubing,” notes Kuster, “all which of combines to make for a more stable unit.”

Additionally, the unit can accommodate harrow and/or finishing reel units to leave the soil bed in the best shape for your crops, soil type and growing conditions, while high-speed condition reels aggressively mix the material, separating solids and fines while firming the soil. Condition reels are available in 11- or 14-inch-diameter flat blades, producing an aggressive cutting action. There is also a 14-inch chevron patterned round bar reel ideal for firming lighter soils.

The other finishing attachment, a three-row coil tine harrow, has ½-inch by 22-inch heavy-duty tines on 12-inch centers, creating an overall 4-inch tine spacing. The three-bar configuration has 13-inch spacing between rows for better residue flow. The coil tine harrow can be used even when soil conditions are too moist for the finishing reel.

The 6600 Series is also made to move from field to field. Patented split-wing technology, for instance, gives the 6631-35 and 6631-40 a low and stable 13-foot, 7-inch transport height.