The Rhino Group introduced the Earthmaster vertical tillage machine at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville recently. From what we hear, it likely won't be the last company that gets into the market selling a tool that farmers could use for vertical tillage.
Whether the appeal is being able to run fast and pull shallow, get into fields early to begin the drying out process, or leave more residue on the top but yet produce a smoother seedbed compared to straight no-till, more and more farmers are looking at the concept.
And it's just that—a concept—no two machines are exactly alike. Each manufacturer believes their model is unique. And they're certainly not all designed the same. Some allow you to adjust gang angle. About half of the machines now on the market set the angle for you and don't fix it to be adjusted,. They figure their machine will come closer to doing the job they know it can do if that's not something farmers are messing with on their own.
In the midst of all this comes word that there is another tool out there not displayed at Louisville that is looking for a fit in the vertical tillage tool market. It's actually not a new tool. Andy Gates, vice-president of Gates Manufacturing, Lansford, North Dakota, says they've marketed a tool in their region since 2002 that they believe would fit in the vertical tillage market in the Midwest.
The tool was invented to help farmers in the Upper Great Plains manage residue after wheat, sunflowers and canola. Designed for fall use originally, it has now become a multi-purpose tool, he says, used in both spring and fall.
Features include a design built to handle rocks, and flexibility to do other jobs, including smoothing ruts and working out sloughs.
Gates is not yet marketing in the Eastern Corn Belt, but is exploring the possibilities. If you would like to get a glimpse of this additional vertical tillage tool, check out: www.gatesmfg.net.
And check out the April issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer for a complete rundown of vertical tillage tools exhibited at the National Farm Machinery Show.