Vertical tillage implements have undergone an evolution, according to Larry Kuster, AGCO’s Sunflower brand marketing manager. They’ve changed to better deal with tough trash problems but still keep that ability to lift and mix soil and trash.
Standing beside a Sunflower 6631 vertical tillage implement and talking to a group of farm journalists in a field outside Jackson, Minnesota, Kuster describes its features and explains why it represents an evolution in design that matches the new take on the vertical tillage concept.
“This is second generation of the second generation,” he says. “Our vertical tillage tools find themselves in the second generation of the vertical tillage genre. The first generation was the low gang-angle tools, which sized residue but did a very poor job of anchoring it and left it vulnerable to wind and water erosion. The second generation with a greater gang angle do a much better job of anchoring the residue and being assured of eliminating all the weed population.”
The Sunflower 6631 is an update of the original 6630 vertical tillage implement the brand introduced a few years ago, hence his “second generation of the second generation” description.
To achieve a more aggressive field finish, Sunflower uses an 18 degree disc gang angle, only two degrees less than the 20 degrees used on the brand’s conventional disc harrow offering. But the discs use a shallow concave design that limits lateral movement of residue and soil but provides aggressive lifting.
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“They (6631 implements) feature our Sunflower Sabre blade which has a serrated edge that maintains a good working edge throughout the life of the blade,” explains Kuster. “They’re very shallow they have less than one and a half inch concavity. Combined with that 18-degree gang angle, that gives a good vertical lift. So we get very little lateral movement and exceptionally good lift.”
The 6631 also has a very long frame design to maintain balance, which prevents trailing attachments, like rolling baskets that reincorporate the soil to minimize erosion, from making the implement tail heavy.
“The length of the frame has been extended,” he continues. “That gives us a lot of positives. We’re actually able to move the wheels farther back. That puts about 58 per cent of the mass of this tool on the front gang. We’re putting the weight where it’s needed.”
With the release, in August, of the 6631’s bigger brother, the new 6650-48, working widths now stretch to a maximum of 47 feet, 11 inches.
And AGCO also expects to give their tillage implements a digital component in the near future. Kuster points to the Auto-Till system mounted on the 6631 beside him as he talks to journalists. Although not yet ready for release Auto-Till will allow the brand’s tillage implements to communicate with ISO virtual terminals in tractors, he explains. It will be able to relay a variety of data to the operator and help auto guidance systems accurately position the implement when plotting A-B lines.
“It hasn’t been released to the public yet,” Kuster says. “We have several of these systems out running throughout the country. It’s intelligence for tillage.”
“The operator now has cab control of the cutting depth and fore-and-aft adjustment. It will monitor how many acres have been worked. It will do mapping and actually notify the operator when the gangs have been in operation for 10 hours and it’s time for servicing. He can keep a library of service history as well.”
“We’ve got a list as long as my arm of information we can gather from this tool that will be beneficial to the operator. There’s a lot of stuff coming.”
As for when Auto-Till will be commercially available, AGCO hasn’t officially released a date. “As my boss likes to say, watch this space,” says Kuster.