Conservation implements at KZN No-Till Conference

Distributors and their dealers demonstrated machines from the ever-increasing range of conservation agriculture implements at the KZN No-Till Club’s 2010 annual conference near Bergville. Peter Hittersay reports on some new products.

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The ever popular KZN No-Till Club’s annual conference attracted a record-breaking 260 delegates this year. The main address was by Dr Ademir Calegari, a soil scientist at Brazil’s Peraná Institute of Agriculture and a world authority on conservation agriculture (CA), on the status of CA worldwide. He followed this up with a presentation on the role that cover crops play and the implementation of crop rotation. 

Other presentations covered the growing of vegetables under a no-till system, weed control in CA and the experiences of two CA-practising farmers from the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga. The Protein Research Committee also presented a report on the yields of entrants in their Super Soya Competition, and made awards to the winners.

A comprehensive range of CA-related farm machinery was on display. Distributors  introduced the machines to delegates, followed by demonstrations on an adjoining farm. One new locally designed and developed and two new imported products were launched at the event.

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Theebo Tech show their locally designed single-row min-till planter unit

RIGHT: Theebo Tech of the Western Cape exhibited their locally designed and manufactured Equalizer Precision-SL single-row min-till planter. It’s still in the evaluation stage and has undergone its third set of trials. It will be finally evaluated as a six-row no-till planter in Bethal this coming season, and units will be available to buy in early 2011.

The concept is a single-pass planting system consisting of a tine to aerate the root zone and place fertiliser, a coulter to cut through residue to keep the tine from clogging, and a double-disc seed opener to place seed. Two standard-size gauge wheels control the depth of the double-disc openers and the working depth of the tine.

The seeding unit can be set up to trail the tine or run at an offset of 75mm to the side. The unit is fitted with an imported Italian Matermacc seed-metering unit. The relationship between seed and fertiliser depth placement stays constant and shear design creates an excellent seedbed without smearing in wet conditions. The tine’s hydraulic trip action of the tine ensures unparalleled control in most difficult and stony conditions.Meanwhile, semi-independent trip action ensures seed is placed at a constant depth. Relative depth between seed and fertiliser can vary between four settings, and 10 different seed depth settings are available.

Maximum trip force of 400kg on the shearpoint is possible for hard and difficult soil conditions. The tine can be set to work at a depth of between 50mm and 200mm, and hydraulic down force can be exerted on the coulter for maximum penetration and cutting. Special steels ensure a rugged unit that will withstand most conditions.