Why was ultra-shallow tillage created?
During the last years, the need for a more shallow cultivation has increased by several reasons:
- Increased problems of oilseed rape volunteers
- Increased problems of herbicide resistant weeds
- Increased usage of cover crops
- Increased problems with the European corn bohrer
The customer benefit
Ultra-shallow tillage improves the field hygiene – leaving a clean field after the combined crop. Seeds are triggered by light, meaning that most crops generally germinates very shallow. Burying such seeds too deep often results in deactivating the seeds into a seed dormancy. This can last for years. Oilseed rape for example can germinate after being buried 20 years in the soil. By then, they will act as polluting plants in new established crop, lowering the yield potential. Many weeds, i.e. herbicide resistant blackgrass, also causes problems if left in dormancy, reducing yields for many years.
Ultra-shallow tillage will enable an improved work result at a decreased cost. Less moved soil means less diesel used. Working according to the plant biology will make it possible to lower the chemical cost as well as improve the field hygiene. Additionally the improved mulching of the crop residues will increase the speed of mineralization.
In 1999, Väderstad initiated the tillage practise minimum tillage, aimed at creating stale seedbeds at 5cm working depth, with the disc cultivator Carrier. Due to the shape of the standard disc, this type of concept however lacks the ability for a full cut-out at working depths above 5cm. Ultra-shallow tillage is a further development of minimum tillage.
Looking at the market, several tine solutions are available. These have the benefit of distributing straw, but they will not cope with high amounts of residues and they are limited in speed. In 2014, Väderstad introduced the ultra-shallow front tool CrossCutter Knife, followed by the new generation ultra-shallow disc in 2017 - the CrossCutter Disc.