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Bigger demands are made on the farmer all the time and he has to produce more on the same land to break even. That is why grain farmers turn to science more and more to gain better bigger harvests.
In recent years precision equipment had a huge influence on the industry. Every miniscule seed, every fertiliser pellet, every drop of water is measured and utilised with the highest efficiency. Soil preparation demands the same skill and care as sowing and planting, fertilising and irrigation.
Good news, however, is that Vitamech stands shoulder to shoulder with the farmer with its Väderstad TopDown cultivator which enables the farmer to prepare the soil so perfect that a plant has no option but to deliver its level best. Furthermore this impressive implement is continuously improved with unique adaptations suggested by farmer users simplifying the work of the farmer.
Väderstad is one of the top export products from Sweden. The company was established in 1962 and is still owned by the original family. All their machines undergo stringent tests, part of which is done in a quarry where the rocky underfoot makes huge demands on the implement. This shows up the weak spots, which is then given intensive attention for improvement. In this way care is taken that only the best material is used in the manufacture of their implements.
The Väderstad TopDown is available in three working width models of 3, 6 en 9 metres. Every model performs four operations which can work separately from each other.
“This is the only implement of its kind which controls all its processes hydraulically and independent of each other. The operator can decide to work with only one, two three or all four actions simultaneously,” explains Louis van der Merwe of Vitamech. “The processes can be activated depending on the situation of the farmer.”
Features of the Topdown:
• On the front of the TopDown is a disc row which cuts the plant residue and mix it effectively with the soil. The set of conic discs run 12,5 cm apart on individual arms. The intensity of the disc action can be adjusted from the cabin. The discs are manufactured from hardened Swedish V55 steel;
• The discs are followed by the tines which loosen the seedbed. The tines work effortlessly at a depth of 350 mm. They are spaced at 27 cm over three rows with 700kg tearaway force, but each tine is individually fitted as standard with a MixIn mouldboard which also throws the soil to the front instead of only upwards with the result that it is lifted and mixed twice by the same tine. Normal working depth is 300 mm but it can be extended to 400 mm;
• Behind the tines is a row of covering and levelling discs fitted to the bar with parallel shackles so as to retain an even level and prepare a perfect seedbed. The working height of the discs can also be adjusted from the cabin;
• The fourth process is a roller which compacts the soil snugly to combat moisture loss and ensures good contact between soil and seed. The Topdown can be set to put the full weight of the machine on the rollers, or it can be divided between the rollers and wheels. There are spikes between the wheels to prevent soil from becoming clogged between the rollers; and
• A drill for fine seed or green manuring can also be connected to the machine.
To use the nine metre model effectively, the farmer will need a tractor of about 450 kW. The discs and rollers perform at their best at about 10 km/h. The 3 metre model only needs 112 kW to work efficiently. Apart from the required power, the tractor needs a three point hitch system and four hydraulic couplings.
Christo Cronjé of Conjé Boerdery utilises his TopDown 900 as follows: Immediately after harvesting he organises the work as follows: First the harvest residue is worked into the soil to allow plant material decay to begin. By doing this the fertility of the soil is prepared for the next planting season. The process is repeated directly before the next planting. In the process Christo not only prepares an excellent seedbed, but it is also an excellent way to combat weeds mechanically.
Christo purchased his first TopDown about a year ago and has already cultivated 5 000 hectares with it. “I decided to buy these tough machines because we till the lands in winter when the soil is very hard,” explains Christo. “All I had to replace until now are the tine points. There was no need to replace discs or bearings,” says Christo.
He is also very satisfied with after-sales servicing. “Meyer Mentz of Agri Benodighede in Vrede is always available and keeps a good stock of spare parts. It is never necessary to wait too long before continue ploughing. When I had to replace the tine points, Meyer was on the farm within 24 hours with the new points,” says Christo. He is also impressed by the two year guarantee for the complete machine with all its components. This guarantee holds for all Väderstad products.
The versatility of the Väderstad TopDown 900 allows the farmer to till his lands faster and more economical. “I now have number of redundant implements as the TopDown 900 by itself does the work of all the others combined . . . and does it more efficiently. If one considers this, together with the advantages offered by the machine for your harvest, the TopDown will pay for itself within three years.”
“If I could have bought this machine ten years ago, I wouldn’t have considered anything else and saved a bag of money in the process,” says Christo.
Vitamech is the proud distributor of Väderstad products in South Africa since 2015. Contact Louis van der Merwe on 072-626-8409 or Jurie Swart on 083-375-8840, or send an email to email@example.com. Also visit their website www.vitamech.co.za for more information and to watch videos of all the other winning Vitamech implements that lightens the task of the farmer.