McFarlane Vertical Tillage


Vertical Tillage - The Real Truth

Vertical Tillage - The Real Truth

There is probably no hotter topic in the farm equipment industry today than vertical tillage. Since the 1990’s, when soil density effects were studied and the term “vertical tillage” was coined, there has been an ongoing erosion of what the term really means. It has come to the point that there are numerous machines on the market that are sold as vertical tillage that do not meet the criteria of what vertical tillage is all about.

To address this issue, one needs to understand that vertical tillage means that the ground engaging components of a given tool enter the soil in a vertical rather than horizontal fashion. Conventional “horizontal” tillage implements, such as disk harrows and field cultivators, create horizontal compaction or stratification layers in the soil. These density changes inhibit root growth, impacting crop stand ability and yields.

Machines that utilize straight (non-wavy) coulters running in the same direction of the machine or chopper reels essentially create no stratification layer. However, certain sacrifices have been made in the interest of penetrating hard ground and leveling the soil surface to create the desired seedbed for increased yields. The difficult discussion arises when the question is brought up as to how far away one needs to be from true vertical tillage to achieve the desired goal. Certainly, a slight angle and small concave on a row of discs increases penetration and coverage but the present market is now being asked to accept tools that have become yield robbing machines with multiple high angle disk gangs. While these machines may perform well as residue management tools, it is difficult to categorize many of them as vertical tillage machines.

The following drawing illustrates the difference in root structure in mixed soil vs. stratified soil.

Studies have shown significant yield increases when soil stratification is minimized.

These studies have also proven that “true” vertical tillage will minimize soil stratification. The key factor is minimizing the amount of contact area the tool makes as it passes through the field. By keeping the angle of attack as shallow as possible, and the space between each blade as wide as possible, the percentage of stratified soil is greatly reduced. For example, each 20” diameter disk blade with 5/8” of concavity set at a 1-1/2” soil depth creates a contact area 1-1/8” wide when the disk gang angle is set at 5º. That same disk blade set at the same depth will create a 2” contact area with the disk gang angle set at 10º, and a 3-3/8” contact area when the gang angle is set at 18º. Obviously this effect is magnified when blade spacing is narrower, as is the case with double disk gang machines.

Unfortunately, recent machine introductions by various manufacturers have followed the double disk trend. Using a vertical tillage system has been proven to be a valuable component in today’s farming practices. We also believe that no single tillage machine, including our own Reel Disk, can be referred to as a “system”.

We believe that an educated farmer is a profitable farmer. We encourage you to take the time to understand what vertical tillage really is and what advantage it may or may not have in your operation. Hopefully, this article will clarify what vertical tillage is and that you are buying the tool that’s right for you.


McFarlane Reel Disk

McFarlane Reel Disk

The “Reel Disk” from McFarlane Mfg. is the latest development in vertical tillage and can satisfy all of the demands of today’s farming practices, especially BT corn and corn on corn cropping. This new tool, featuring ultra-shallow concave disk blades, loosens the top 2-3 inches of the soil yet leaves the seedbed firm. This ensures accurate seed depth at planting, resulting in even emergence and better yields. Smoothing uneven ground and removing small weeds are done quickly at the 7-9 mph operating speeds.

The Reel Disk is available in widths of 14’ rigid frame, 20’, 25’, 30’ and 35’ folding frames. Horsepower requires are approximately 8-9 hp/ft.

The ultra-shallow leading disk blades on 7” centers easily penetrate the soil and slice residue into manageable pieces. The gang angle can be set aggressive for more soil movement to bury residue or can be set passive to leave more residue on the surface.

Reversible scrapers are two-way adjustable to maintain optimum disk blade performance. Following the disks is a rank of seven-blade, 18-inch diameter spiral reels that crosscut the residue and mix it into the soil, aiding decomposition. To produce the firm and level seedbed for optimum germination and yields, our proven 3-bar spike harrow follows the spiral reel.

The heavy-duty harrow follows the ground contour closely and is flexible to allow residue to flow through. The final touch for the perfect seedbed is our 12-inch diameter rolling basket.

The basket features eight, high-carbon flat bars with adjustable down pressure to make it aggressive for clod sizing and firming or passive for soil separating and conditioning.


McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4012-RB

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4012-RB

Features:

  • Ultra-shallow leading disk with adjustable gang angle
  • C-spring protection on disk & reel gangs
  • Triple lip seals for long bearing life
  • Wing axle height adjustment to prevent wings from gouging
  • Heavy 3-bar flexible spike harrow has heat treated wear bushings & 3/4" teeth
  • Adjustable down pressure on single rolling basket to meet varying field conditions

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4014-RB

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4014-RB

Features:

  • Ultra-shallow leading disk with adjustable gang angle
  • C-spring protection on disk & reel gangs
  • Triple lip seals for long bearing life
  • Wing axle height adjustment to prevent wings from gouging
  • Heavy 3-bar flexible spike harrow has heat treated wear bushings & 3/4" teeth
  • Adjustable down pressure on single rolling basket to meet varying field conditions

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4020-RB

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4020-RB

Features:

  • Ultra-shallow leading disk with adjustable gang angle
  • C-spring protection on disk & reel gangs
  • Triple lip seals for long bearing life
  • Wing axle height adjustment to prevent wings from gouging
  • Heavy 3-bar flexible spike harrow has heat treated wear bushings & 3/4" teeth
  • Adjustable down pressure on single rolling basket to meet varying field conditions

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4025-RB

Farlane Reel Disk Model RD-4025-RB

Features:

  • Ultra-shallow leading disk with adjustable gang angle
  • C-spring protection on disk & reel gangs
  • Triple lip seals for long bearing life
  • Wing axle height adjustment to prevent wings from gouging
  • Heavy 3-bar flexible spike harrow has heat treated wear bushings & 3/4" teeth
  • Adjustable down pressure on single rolling basket to meet varying field conditions

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4030-RB

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4030-RB

Features:

  • Ultra-shallow leading disk with adjustable gang angle
  • C-spring protection on disk & reel gangs
  • Triple lip seals for long bearing life
  • Wing axle height adjustment to prevent wings from gouging
  • Heavy 3-bar flexible spike harrow has heat treated wear bushings & 3/4" teeth
  • Adjustable down pressure on single rolling basket to meet varying field conditions

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4035-RB

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4035-RB

Features:

  • Ultra-shallow leading disk with adjustable gang angle
  • C-spring protection on disk & reel gangs
  • Triple lip seals for long bearing life
  • Wing axle height adjustment to prevent wings from gouging
  • Heavy 3-bar flexible spike harrow has heat treated wear bushings & 3/4" teeth
  • Adjustable down pressure on single rolling basket to meet varying field conditions

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4044-RB

McFarlane Reel Disk Model RD-4044-RB

Features:

  • Ultra-shallow leading disk with adjustable gang angle
  • C-spring protection on disk & reel gangs
  • Triple lip seals for long bearing life
  • Wing axle height adjustment to prevent wings from gouging
  • Heavy 3-bar flexible spike harrow has heat treated wear bushings & 3/4" teeth
  • Adjustable down pressure on single rolling basket to meet varying field conditions

McFarlane Quadra-Till

McFarlane Quadra-Till

Quadra-Till Primary Tillage Tool - A vertical tillage residue management tool designed to be a companion to the Reel Disk.
A single pass in the fall with the Quadra-Till will leave the soil and residue in a condition that requires only a light pass with a Reel Disk in spring to prepare a seedbed and get the crop in the ground sooner.

Quadra-Till completes four functions in a single pass:

  • Size Residue - Cuts residue into small pieces for faster breakdown
  • Shatters Soil - Full width fracture of the soil to eliminate compaction layers
  • Mixes Residue - Spreads residue uniformly throughout the profile, ensuring good seed to soil contact in the spring
  • Levels the Seedbed - Eliminating the need for multiple field finishing passes

McFarlane Quadra-Till Model QT107

McFarlane Quadra-Till Model QT107

Features:

  • 1/4" thick, 24" diameter disk blades
  • 1-1/2" square arbor bolt
  • Triple lip trunnion mount bearings
  • Cushion bearing standards
  • Heavy duty reversible scrapers
  • Disk gang operating depth up to 4"
  • 2" x 1.25" edge bent shanks
  • Adjustable spring pre-load on chisel shanks
  • Chisel operating depth up to 12"
  • 6mm thick, 20" diameter leveler disk blades
  • Heavy duty 4-bar spike tooth harrow
  • Walking tandem axle (single axle on 7 shank)
  • Maintenance free UHMW polymer on axle & disk rock shafts
  • Single point depth control
  • Operating range 8 to 10.5 km/h
  • Safety chain, SMV & lighting kit

McFarlane Quadra-Till Model QT109

McFarlane Quadra-Till Model QT109

Features:

  • 1/4" thick, 24" diameter disk blades
  • 1-1/2" square arbor bolt
  • Triple lip trunnion mount bearings
  • Cushion bearing standards
  • Heavy duty reversible scrapers
  • Disk gang operating depth up to 4"
  • 2" x 1.25" edge bent shanks
  • Adjustable spring pre-load on chisel shanks
  • Chisel operating depth up to 12"
  • 6mm thick, 20" diameter leveler disk blades
  • Heavy duty 4-bar spike tooth harrow
  • Walking tandem axle (single axle on 7 shank)
  • Maintenance free UHMW polymer on axle & disk rock shafts
  • Single point depth control
  • Operating range 8 to 10.5 km/h
  • Safety chain, SMV & lighting kit

McFarlane Quadra-Till Model QT111

McFarlane Quadra-Till Model QT111

Features:

  • 1/4" thick, 24" diameter disk blades
  • 1-1/2" square arbor bolt
  • Triple lip trunnion mount bearings
  • Cushion bearing standards
  • Heavy duty reversible scrapers
  • Disk gang operating depth up to 4"
  • 2" x 1.25" edge bent shanks
  • Adjustable spring pre-load on chisel shanks
  • Chisel operating depth up to 12"
  • 6mm thick, 20" diameter leveler disk blades
  • Heavy duty 4-bar spike tooth harrow
  • Walking tandem axle (single axle on 7 shank)
  • Maintenance free UHMW polymer on axle & disk rock shafts
  • Single point depth control
  • Operating range 8 to 10.5 km/h
  • Safety chain, SMV & lighting kit

McFarlane Quadra-Till Model QT113

McFarlane Quadra-Till Model QT113

Features:

  • 1/4" thick, 24" diameter disk blades
  • 1-1/2" square arbor bolt
  • Triple lip trunnion mount bearings
  • Cushion bearing standards
  • Heavy duty reversible scrapers
  • Disk gang operating depth up to 4"
  • 2" x 1.25" edge bent shanks
  • Adjustable spring pre-load on chisel shanks
  • Chisel operating depth up to 12"
  • 6mm thick, 20" diameter leveler disk blades
  • Heavy duty 4-bar spike tooth harrow
  • Walking tandem axle (single axle on 7 shank)
  • Maintenance free UHMW polymer on axle & disk rock shafts
  • Single point depth control
  • Operating range 8 to 10.5 km/h
  • Safety chain, SMV & lighting kit
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