Aitchison AirPro zero-tillage seed drills have a loyal following, with the 4.8 and 6.0m units forming the backbone of sales for ten years.
The benefits of sub-soiling and soil aeration are well known.
Not least they create vertical fissures that help the movement of water and nutrients to plants roots, in turn helping increase production.
The process is also useful as a remedial action 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 and uses cast clamping components to secure legs or tines to the frame. Straight legs or parabolic tines are manufactured from bis-alloy steels, with dimensions of 500mm x 16mm thick, to allow operating depths of 300-400mm.
The straight leg is useful for creating ‘shatter’, while minimising inversion of the soil profile, so should suit operators not wishing to bring clay sub-soils into the surface layer.
The curved, parabolic tine option causes a degree of inversion, but offers key benefits in draught reduction by making the units about 30% easier to pull.
The legs or tines each carry a knock-on/off point and wing assembly to ensure penetration and the 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.
Depending on requirements, a range of two to seven legs can be mounted on the frame – the former ideal for loosening tramlines. These are all easily adjusted to create the desired effect and typically require 60 - 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 working on grassland, an optional 350mm diameter disc coulter cuts a path through the sward to allow the tine a clean entry and works with the rear roller to ensure a prompt return to grazing or harvesting operations.
“The Earthquaker is a versatile tool for removing pans and improving vertical drainage, but also lends itself to soil loosening in cultivation operations,” says JP Chapman, product manager, Power Farming. “It’s perhaps ahead of discs, tines or power harrows in primary cultivation or remedial situations.”