Punch Through Compacted Soils with Smart-Till
April 13, 2007
MENDOTA, Ill. — Open compacted soils to air and water with the revolutionary concept of vertical tillage from HCC Inc.
The patented tines of the company’s Smart-Till rotate into and through the plow layer to fracture soil up to 8 inches deep, promoting healthy air and water exchange in pasture, forage and other no-till environments, said HCC sales manager Ron Roglis.
Instead of turning soil with Smart-Till, producers are rejuvenating it with minimal surface disturbance, maintaining continuity in the soil ecosystem and biosphere, he explained.
By punching through soil compacted by cattle, machinery and water, the tines create new resistance-free pathways for water and roots to go deep, providing greater access to moisture and nutrients, thereby boosting yield potential.
“The Smart-Till’s adjustable tine action allows producers to renovate existing cultivars by using inter-seeding and over-seeding technologies with improved soil conditions for better seed-to-soil contact and seedling root development,” Roglis said. Compaction relief with minimal soil surface disturbance is the key, he added, noting soil that transports water rapidly and changes air efficiently warms up faster than strict notill. This simple process performed after harvest gets producers in the field sooner under better, more uniform soil conditions and builds soil health through absorption, increasing overall soil health and an early start to planting, Roglis said.
“Unlike horizontal tillage that buries residue, the Smart- Till builds the foundation for a holistic approach to residue management,” he said. “This technology manages compaction and water storage challenges, while being in compliance with conservation plans.”
Livestock producers, in particular, will appreciate the benefits of Smart-Till, Roglis said. “Liquid manure does not enter the soil through the openings created by the tines, but the risk of accidental runoff through subsurface drainage systems is virtually eliminated,” he said. “Earthworm channels and soil cracking under drought conditions no longer are a factor in controlling freshwater or groundwater contamination.”
The liquid fraction of animal wastes is absorbed and diffused throughout the upper reaches of the plow layer from the surface in minutes, Roglis said. Typical application rates rarely will wet deeper than 2 inches of the soil, he noted. “Odor problems largely are eliminated once the liquid is off the surface,” Roglis said. “When the Smart-Till tine is combined with the rotary harrow technology, even the appearance of manure application disappears.”
The solid fraction of animal wastes remains at or near the surface for optimal degradation into humus and nutrient recycling, he added. The Smart-Till’s innovatively designed combination of tine and helical patters is easily adjustable from zero degrees of offset to 10 degrees according to field conditions and operator preferences, Roglis said.
HCC offers the Smart-Till in 10-feet-wide, 15-feet-wide and 20-feet-wide models, all available with an optional rotary harrow attachment featuring tine assemblies that are adjustable through a 60- degree sweep.