Field drainage has often been the source of conflict between neighbours, but Jeff Penner, inventor of the V-Wing Ditcher says the whole idea behind the development of his machine wasn’t to just send water further down stream, but to make the best use of it on his own farm fields.
“The whole idea behind this was to follow natural waterways and to use the natural environment instead of creating a new one,” he told Grainews during a demonstration at the Ag in Motion farm show at Langham, Sask., this past summer. “What we want to do is spread the water out and utilize it, not drain water. Our whole plan is to use the watershed and let the water soak into the ground, utilize your water table.”
“We had an exceptionally wet year in 2010 where we live in the Swan River Valley,” he continued. “We had combine ruts from corner to corner, and we didn’t have a proper machine to clean up this mess. That’s what inspired creating this machine, so we won’t have problems anymore.”
The first model of the V-Wing to see production was the model 3200 HD, which can make a 32-foot wide cut and can move up to 30 yards of soil across its width, which means it will need a pretty capable tractor in front of it to handle the load. Nothing short of 450 horsepower will get that job done. But to make the concept available to producers don’t have access to a tractor of that size, Penner has also introduced a smaller model.
“Our 2100 HD is a smaller unit meant for smaller tractors,” he said. “But it can be pulled by a larger tractor as well. The 2100 HD takes a minimum of 250 horsepower. We’ve got guys pulling them with front-wheel assists. People say that’s not possible; it is. These machines do pull a lot easier than they appear.”
The shape of the blade and its tendency to get dirt to roll allow for the reduced horsepower requirement.
“We’ve got a good angle on our blades,” he added. “We have a nice V-shape on our plows, which is underutilized in the farming world. It’s old technology. Why did they use it on a horse and plow, because it pulled easy. The machine also pulls easy because our blade is profiled to create a rolling action. So if you use a little bit of speed, the soil starts to roll.”
The added benefit of that rolling action is it tends to break up chunks of dirt and lumps, Penner explained.
The overall contour shape left behind the plow can be changed in a variety of ways, so it can do a lot more than dig a v-shaped trench.
“A lot of people don’t realize what these machines can do,” he added. “We have people terracing with them. We have people in Western Canada maintaining their water runs.”
The model 3200 has a retail price starting at $136,000. Prices for the smaller 2100 HD begin at $79,900. Penner’s company can be contacted through its website, hitecag.com.