Friday, 01 March 2019 13:10

Moving the earth for good reasons

Written by  Mark Daniel
Depth is controlled by a full-width flat roller. Depth is controlled by a full-width flat roller.

The benefits of sub-soiling and soil aeration are well known, not least their ability to create vertical fissures that help water and nutrients penetrate to plants roots, so helping increase production.

And it can be remedial in pugged paddocks or gateways by removing standing water and bringing ground back into production more quickly.

The Aitchison Earthquaker, marketed by Power Farming, has a 2.44m wide double-bar high-tensile steel frame with cast clamping components that secure legs or tines to the frame.

Straight legs or parabolic tines are made from bis-alloy steels, with dimensions of 500 x 16mm thick, to allow operating depths of 300-400mm. The straight leg is useful for causing ‘shatter’ and minimising inversion of the soil profile, so it should suit farmers not wanting to bring clay sub-soils into the surface layer. 

The curved parabolic tine option causes some inversion, but offers key benefits in draught reduction by making the units 30% easier to pull. 

Legs or tines each carry a knock-on/off point and wing assembly to ensure penetration and sub-soil or pan shatter. Overload protection from stones or trash is by a 20mm transverse shear bolt, pre-stressed to ensure a clean break.

A range of two to seven legs can be mounted to the frame, the former ideal for ‘loosening’ tramlines, all easily adjusted to create the desired effect and typically needing 60 to 150hp for effective use. 

In operation, depth control is by a full-width flat roller assembly fitted with a scraper that also levels and firms the surface after use. 

For those operating in grasslands, optional 350mm diameter disc coulters cut a path through the sward to allow the tine a clean entry and work in with the rear roller to ensure a prompt return to grazing or harvesting.

Product manager for Power Farming, JP Chapman, says “the Earthquaker is a versatile tool for removing pans and improving vertical drainage, and it lends itself to soil loosening in cultivation work, perhaps ahead of discs, tines or power harrows in primary cultivation or remediation.”

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