«Previous    Next»
Get High-Speed, Low-HP Strip-Till And Boost Infiltration
Willmar Fabrication is introducing the Redball ST850 as a multi-purpose, low-hp., high-speed, strip-till tool. Initially developed as the RT850 for water infiltration and aeration, it retains those functions but emphasizes its strip-till advantages.
“Travelling in Europe, I saw what had been done to prevent erosion and get the ground warmed up in spring,” says Steve Claussen, Willmar Fabrication. “We began developing the reservoir tillage concept 8 or 9 years ago.”
Willmar had introduced a strip tillage unit 5 or 6 years earlier. Equipped with a shank and blade, row cleaners, and a disk to gather the dirt, it was slow and time-consuming, with 10 to 30 grease zerks per unit and a multitude of moving parts.
The RT/ST850 is dramatically simpler, with few moving parts and a rolling drum and knives designed for speed. Row units consist of 3/8-in. thick, 14-in. diameter steel drums with one bearing each and one grease zerk. Each is equipped with five to fifteen 10 in. replaceable knives. Drum width and knife count vary by row spacing, from 22 to 40 in. rows. The heavy-duty drums are mounted on shafts between pillow block bearings inside steel plate housing. The drums hold the knives but also serve as depth wheels as they roll across the ground.
“The row units are heavy, weighing about 750 lbs. each on a 7 by 7-in. bar,” says Claussen. “They’re mounted on heavy-duty suspension with 16-in. of travel, 10 up and 6 down.”
He notes that other tillage units with knives throw dirt, especially at higher speeds. The RT knives are curved to penetrate and withdraw easily, requiring minimal horsepower. At the same time, the left and right pitch of each knife fractures the soil without severely displacing it. Each knife insertion creates 8-in. deep, upside-down cones that capture water, while the fractures in the soil allow the water to move out from the cones. Even at high speeds, the housing retains any dirt that is displaced.
“It works well for reservoir tillage, but we’re not sure people understood its versatility,” says Claussen. “Last summer, we decided to emphasize its potential for strip-till as well, rebranding it as the Redball ST850 for Strip-Till and Reservoir Tillage.”
The only real changes were the addition of row cleaners and Y-drops ahead of the housing/drums/knives and a crumbler or drag teeth behind. The need for a crumbler or drag teeth may depend on the amount of residue and the job being done.
“Customers don’t have to use our row cleaners, crumblers, or drag teeth,” he says. “They can use their favorites or none at all.”
Claussen envisions the ST850 being used for reservoir tillage in the spring. In the summer, it can be used for side dressing nitrogen or sprinkling on cover crop seed between the rows and again in the fall to prepare the next year’s strip.
“It will loosen the dirt, so it stays mellow all season,” says Claussen. “After harvest with row cleaners, it can be used to make strips for the coming year.”
He admits the seedbed created when used for strip-till may be different from what growers are used to with shanks or discs. However, so will the cost of the system and the speed of travel.
“The ST850 has very few moving parts and, as a result, costs considerably less,” says Claussen. “If mounted on an existing toolbar, each row unit is priced at $5,000.”
The simple design also lends itself to speed and versatility. “You can drive as fast as you want and at only 20 to 25 hp. per row unit,” says Claussen. “With a 12-row unit, you could cover 30 acres an hour.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Willmar Fabrication, 2205 Hall Ave., Benson, Minn. 56215 (ph 320-843-1700; toll-free 877-332-2551; www.willmarfab.com).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2023 - Volume #47, Issue #6