The Surface primary seedbed cultivator developed by machinery experts Cousins and Crop protection specialists Hutchinsons has been awarded a medal in the Cereals event machinery awards, IMMA’s.Judged on innovation, effectiveness and value the Surface cultivator has been placed as one of the top two entries in the Cultivations Equipment category, the final decision will be announced on 11th June at the Cereals Event.Organised by the Cereals event and supported by the AEA (Institute of Agricultural Engineers), The Royal Agricultural University and Farmers Weekly, the machinery awards scheme has been set up to recognise the best new farm equipment on the market.The Surface seedbed cultivator was developed through a collaboration between Cousins and Hutchinsons based on the agronomic need for healthy crops and controlling weeds.
“Cultivations have a key impact on black-grass and our work at the Brampton black grass centre suggests growers can do far more to combat the burgeoning black grass problems and reduce reliance on struggling herbicides,” says Dick Neale of Hutchinsons.
“Cultivations using a novel combination of shallow tines and rolls can play a huge roll in stimulating black-grass emergence, making stale seedbeds more effective, particularly when followed by heavy rolling and repeated destruction using glyphosate. “
Mr Neale points out that key to the technique is that black-grass seeds only germinate in the top 5cm (2in) of soil. So, shallow cultivations are crucial to stimulate germination and destruction of potentially troublesome seeds near the surface, before the crop is sown, without pulling seed up from further down the soil profile.“This is achieved by the Surface cultivator through central and rear ballastable rollers which allow for precise depth control to only 5 cm depth. The tines can be raised from work allowing for the machine to function as a seedbed press which is ideal for rolling after strip till type drills, “explains Laura Cousins, who has been behind the development of the Surface cultivator.“High work rates concentrate crop residues in the soil surface to protect soils from wet weather conditions and optimise any late drilling opportunities required for black grass control.”“The Surface cultivator will also work and level ploughed soils both pre and post winter on all soil types – so it is a really versatile machine.”“The intention and the driver for our collaboration with Hutchinsons was to develop a real and sustainable solution to the burgeoning black grass problem and one that also conserved moisture for establishing crops; we looked at the whole issue and then designed a machine that could offer part of the solution by tackling challenges during establishment.”“We are proud and very pleased that our innovative approach in developing the Surface cultivator to tackle these issues has been recognised by IMMA.”