Posts Tagged ‘tillage’
“Designed with comfort and versatility in mind, the new Massey Ferguson® 6600 Series tractors are an ideal fit for loader work, hay production, planting and tillage, livestock and dairy applications, and general on-the-farm use in any operation,” says Matt McDonald, advanced product marketing manager for under-150-hp Massey Ferguson tractors.
“Each model features a standard-powered front axle, as well as a new six-post cab that is identical in size to the larger Massey Ferguson 7600 Series tractors.
“They also feature a newly refined 4.9-liter, 4-cylinder AGCO Power engine that meets the stringent Tier 4i emissions requirements for North America.”
Available in three models from 130 to 150 engine hp (100 to 125 PTO-hp), McDonald adds, “this engine is the newest rendition of a proven power plant featuring AGCO’s advanced e3 clean air technology. The benefits include exceptional power and performance with greater fuel economy.”
Making them all the more versatile, the new 6600 Series tractors, which include the MF6614, MF6615 and MF6616, can be tailored with multiple configurations and features to fit the exact needs and specifications of the customer. The options begin with three different transmissions, depending on the model: the Dyna-VT™ (continuously variable), Dyna-6 (24-speed, semi-powershift) or Dyna-4 (16-speed, semi-powershift). All three transmissions provide efficient power transfer under any field condition.
The 6600 Series tractors are available in a choice of Classic, Deluxe or Premium editions for the desired amount of comfort and control. The Premium version, for example, features everything from electric mirrors to advanced Control Center Displays and a multipad joystick control. Other advanced options—seldom available on a midsize tractor—include a suspended front axle (standard on Deluxe and Premium editions), front 3-point hitch and Auto-Guide satellite-assisted steering.
“Customers also have a choice when it comes to the type of hydraulic system, flow rate and remote valve controls,” says McDonald, noting that three different systems are available. “The most basic package provides 15 gallons per minute (gpm), while a high-performing closed-center, load-sensing system delivers up to 29 gpm of flow to the implements and remotes.”
Sunflower Tillage Experts Offer Preseason Advice for Proper Tillage
No matter what your tillage goal is — residue management, seedbed preparation or preparing for the next crop in a rotation — a properly adjusted and properly used tillage implement will result in fewer trips to the field, better management of the quality and performance of the next crop, and hopefully lower potential erosion.
Tillage experts from Sunflower®, the industry’s full-line provider of tillage and seeding implements, offer some advice for preparing and setting disc harrows before going to the field this fall. These tips apply regardless of the brand of disc harrow you’re working with.
“The goal should be to achieve a consistent, level soil finish across the entire width of the machine, leaving no ridges or furrows,” says Larry Kuster, senior product specialist with Sunflower, a brand of AGCO. “How a machine is set and how it is used really impact reaching this goal, and also determine how effective the machine will be at cutting crop residue, sizing it consistently, and then mixing it into soil to encourage breakdown over the winter.” Kuster offers these tips plus easy-to-follow photos and detailed instructions from Sunflower demonstrating how to set a tillage machine.
Properly pair the tractor and tillage tool. Size does matter, so don’t overpower the tool. A general rule is 8 to 10 HP per foot to pull a tandem disc harrow at 5 to 6 mph. While the design of some tillage tools allows faster ground speeds, going too fast is an easy way to create ridges and furrows. It also can cause tillage tools to bounce, producing an inconsistent tillage depth.
Adjusting the tongue to match drawbar height is important to keep the tillage tool level and moving smoothly through the field, optimizing fuel use and minimizing wear on parts such as the drawbar, level lift assembly and other components that can receive unneeded down pressure if the tool is operated either nose down or tail down. A straight line of draft to the tool is the goal.
Purge air from the hydraulic lines to ensure the wings stay level with the machine’s center section. With the implement’s hydraulics connected to the tractor, simply raise and lower the implement several times to allow the system to cycle fully. Because air is more easily compressed than oil, air in the hydraulic lines can allow the wings to sag.
“If the cylinder sags one-third inch, for example, that could allow the wing to drop approximately 1 inch,” explains Kuster. “That is significant when the tillage depth you’re working toward is only 5 or 6 inches.”
Level the tool from side to side and from front to back to ensure it will work the soil at a consistent, even depth, without gouging or ridging. Keeping the tool level also helps optimize fuel efficiency, reduces wear on the implement, and allows the machine to handle crop residue with less bunching or plugging. Wings and center frames should operate at the same height from side to side. To check these, lower the tool to the ground, stopping the descent when the disc blades are close to the soil but not touching it. Use a tape to measure the distance from the bottom of the frame to the center of the pivot pin on the walking tandem or the top of the wheel spindle if a single or dual wheel is present. The measurements should be the same. Always check the center-section wheels left and right to ensure the integrity of the center lift assembly. Using this same method, set the wings at identical depths by measuring from the bottom of the frame to the top of the wheel spindle or pivot pin of the walking tandem (as shown). If the wheels on the wings are smaller than the main transport wheels, adjust your measurements accordingly.
“The great thing about this method is the operator can use it at the shop or in the field,” says Kuster. “You don’t need a level slab of cement.”
Adjust the fore/aft level so the front and rear blades are of equal distance from the ground. This is a preliminary adjustment. Once in the field, confirm the fore/aft level after traveling several hundred feet with the tool lowered in the working position. Check the soil at the center rear of the tool where the soil is returned by the rear gangs. A tool that is level front to rear will produce a complete and level fill of the valley cut by the front gangs. If soil forms a valley, the rear of the tool needs to be lowered. If a ridge is present, the rear of the tool is too deep, and the tool should be adjusted to lower the front of the machine.
Set the tillage depth to your field conditions and the job at hand. A general rule of thumb for tillage depth of an implement such as a disc harrow is 25 percent of the blade diameter. Thus, a disc harrow with 24-inch blades should be set to till no more than 6 inches deep. Implements such as Sunflower disc harrows have a single-point depth control with a convenient hand crank that adjusts the depth in one-half-inch increments each time the handle is rotated one turn.
“When setting machine depth, be sure the machine carries some weight on the wheels, because the wheels are the base of all the tool adjustments previously made,” explains Kuster. “When the tires don’t have some soil contact, control of the implement is lost.”
Follow these steps to achieve the maximum depth of a disc harrow: Operate the tool with the wheels fully retracted; yes, tires off the ground. Stop after working the soil for a few hundred feet and allowing the disc to achieve maximum depth. Lower the wheels until the tool’s frame begins to lift. At this point, release the valve stopping the ascent of the frame, and stop the tractor but leave the tool in the ground. Adjust the single-point depth-control crank until the striker plate contacts the hydraulic poppet valve. Raise the tool until the audible click of the poppet valve engages, which stops the oil flow. The implement’s maximum depth is now set, and control of the tool is retained.
Gauge wheels are especially important on flexible tillage tools to prevent front-wing corners from gouging. When set correctly, these wheels should move slightly side to side when kicked. A tape measure can be used to ensure the setting for both gauge wheels is consistent. The gauge wheel adjustment is the final step in the field adjustment process.
Operators’ manuals will have full details for specific settings on your machine. For more information about the full line of tillage tools from Sunflower, see your Sunflower equipment dealer or visit www.sunflowermfg.com.
In exchange for a little TLC, Rich Bennett’s fields produce healthy yields of grain, while saving him fertilizer, herbicide, fuel and time.
Rich Bennett has gone old school. Like generations before him, he uses cover crops. As a result, he conserves valuable soil, not to mention improve it, as well as save money on fertilizer and fuel. All the while maintaining average yields of corn, soybeans and wheat on 1,100 acres in northwestern Ohio.
“My goal is to keep something growing, to put some value-added material and organic matter back into the soil to produce the next crop,” says Rich, who operates the farm with his wife, Jeannie, and informal partner Ken Griffith. “Our yields are comparable to others in the area, and we don’t have to use the high levels of fertilizer that we once did.”
His soybeans normally yield 40 to 60 bushels per acre, and his corn is in the 165-bushel range. By using cover crops, he figures he saves 30% on the cost of fuel, fertilizer and herbicide—the rye also acts as a weed barrier. There may be a slight yield decrease from a reduction in fertilizer, but it isn’t much.
Rich also reduces tillage. “No-till soybeans into rye saves at least two passes with a disc or finishing tool, and that saves $7 per acre in fuel costs,” he says. “There’s the added benefit of soil protected from wind and heavy rains, plus rainwater infiltration through the rye root structure through the soil, leaving no standing water.”
It’s easy to tell the difference in soils that have benefited from cover crops, according to Rich. Water may stand for many days in other fields, but for only one day at the most where there are cover crops.
The Bennetts also attribute their success to using the right equipment.
They’ve used AGCO-brand and Allis equipment for decades, but made the switch to Massey Ferguson, with a MF7485. “It’s our catch-all tractor,” says Rich, who still uses his AGCO DT180.
“I had an Allis 8050 and a 7045 and wanted to update them, and I did it with the Massey 7485. It’s a good tractor to do anything from hauling grain wagons to planting soybeans. It was the first red tractor Mitchell Farm Equipment sold when they switched from orange to red.”
Everyone on the farm gives high marks to the tractor’s continuous variable transmission (CVT). Rich is totally impressed by the CVT that’s standard on his MF7485. “It’s just so smooth,” he says. “And you can go at such a slow speed. It really takes the stress out of operation. We’re really learning to take advantage of it. With a clutch, you’re always changing gears, but with CVT, you don’t have to be shifting.”
How do 350 employees generate $6,631 for the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” event? They put FUN into fundraising. For more than 15 years, the employees at the AGCO-Beloit and Cawker City facilities have supported their Relay team by opening their wallets and giving generously. You may remember reading about this in an earlier post.
This year the AGCO team was able to contribute to two worthy organizations, American Cancer Society and Locks of Love , through the “Get ‘er Cut Fund”. Kirk Cool, Beloit Machine Shop Supervisor offered to cut 10 inches of his ponytail for $500 for the Relay. Then he agreed to an additional one-half inch for every $50 over the goal.
The goal of $500 was met fairly quickly. The fund leveled off at $615 until someone donated $85 which put the haircut at 12 inches. Just before the deadline for contributing, an individual presented $100. During a plant-wide employee meeting June 8, Kirk Cool got a haircut from team co-captain Arlene Zachary; and Locks of Love got a 13-inch gift.
This year’s team members are: Arlene Zachary, co-captain; Eve Flynn, co-captain; Steven Isley; Kathy Hargett; Ethan Smith-Esogbue; Ruth Roberts, and Chandra Ackerman. AGCO employees in Beloit and Cawker City have demonstrated their support of the Relay for Life event for many years. They have donated their personal time and money because they believe there should be more birthdays.
What is the funnest thing you have ever done for charity?