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Tillage Tool Tills Soils Without Turning It
John Wilkinson has turned tillage on its ear. Or at least on its side.
  He owns and operates Wilkinson's Engineering, a manufacturing, welding and blacksmithing in Queensland, Australia. He and project engineer Graeme Twidle, developed a new tillage machine, which they call the Roto-Till 2000. The revolutionary tillage machine is built like a rotary tiller, but with a twist - the tilling blades cut horizontally in the soil rather than vertically.
  It has two sets of six blades - one inner and one outer - with the points curved down. These are mounted on rotating discs that are powered by the tractor's PTO. The discs are mounted at a slight angle so they extend above ground in front, in order to gobble up crop residue.  The beauty of the design is that the soil is aerated and residue is incorporated without turning the soil over or beating it up as most rotary tillers do. The reason for this is the speed of the knives, which allow them to cut thin slices of the soil and loosen it without turning it.
  "It does little to disturb soil structure and doesn't bring up subsoil and mix it in with the top soil," Wilkinson tells. And while it aerates the soil and mixes in crop residues, it doesn't create a lot of dust, even in hard dry soils. He's had backing from several environmental groups and support from the government in developing the machine because it promises to be an outstanding soil conservation tool.
  Wilkinson's Roto-Till 2000 is about 30 in. wide and works the soil 17 to 18 in. deep. Residue is buried at about 7.5 in. deep. It requires a tractor with about 160 HP to operate. It can be used to strip-till, leaving residue between wide rows.
  He's working on two new versions of the tiller - one for broadcast crops, such as small grains, and one that will till strips in a 6-row configuration for row crops. His current broadcast prototype is 20 ft. wide and will till about 8 in. deep. Wilkinson hopes to have both of these perfected soon, and is looking for help in reaching the North American market with all three versions.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Wilkinson, Wilkinson's Engineering, 1 Gill Street, Atherton, Queensland 4883 Australia E-mail: hse@wilkinsons.com.au; Website: www.wilkinsons.com.au. (ph:011-61-740-911-833).

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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #6