Strip tillage kit trialled for the first time

Strip tillage kit trialled for the first time

Key Points

  • A new option is being trialled for drilling into land prepared using minimum tillage.
  • Trials have successfully cleared trash ahead of an X7 seed unit in organic and clay soils in minimum tillage, zero tillage, and heavily cultivated situations.
  • The kit will be used for planting other crops, although there will be a minimum row spacing.
  • It may be possible for older Stanhay drills to be retrofitted.
  • Enquire directly for more information.

Responding to customer requests for a minimum tillage option for our row units, we have been busy developing an add-on tool kit, which had its first outing drilling sugar beet in Cambridgeshire.

A trash-clearing wheel system sits before the row to prepare suitable ground conditions. We tested it on a 6-row model of our flagship X7 drill.

The X7 row was fitted with 80mm wide rubber wheels at the front and rear, with sprung scrapers to keep it clean even in damp conditions like those found in testing. A small straight disc in front of the coulters cut a groove, and then a seed press wheel and arm coverer cover the slot.

80mm rubber wheels with sprung scrapers

The initial testing was on easy-working black fen soil with high levels of straw residue, which the grower expects would ‘bung up’ their existing Kverneland Monopill drill.

In a small area, the drill followed a low-disturbance subsoiler, where it was a challenge to maintain an even depth due to the uneven surface. In other areas, the strip-till system was tried straight into stubble, and while it successfully drilled the sugar beet into the ground without blockage, it was very hard under the top layer. We wait to see whether the beet can grow effectively in these conditions.

A field with lighter organic soil prone to blowing was also prepared using a power harrow combi-drill to plant an oat companion crop, preventing wind blow and qualifying for the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) companion cropping payment. The X7 strip-till was used to plant directly into this.

New trash wheels mounted on a tool bar

Testing in different conditions

For the second demo, it is not strip-till at all, but late-ploughed land that has had no frost mould. The soil is cloddy and took some serious breaking down to form a seedbed for both the oat companion crop and sugar beet.

In these conditions, other drills would have needed perhaps another few passes of power harrow and rolls to make a suitable seedbed (with the subsequent loss of moisture), whereas the X7 went straight in.

Drilling straight into cultivated land

Chris Fletcher, Stanhay’s Managing Director, comments:

“I think the main thing we are learning is how versatile our system can be in a range of conditions.

“Whether it be light land, with the trash wheels performing a strip-till function, or heavier land, with the trash wheels acting more as a clod mover with a small amount of surface tillage, it’s enabled this grower to establish the beet with less input cost and in a wider variety of conditions.”


Although these first trials are on sugar beet, the kit could also interest onion growers who are going straight into beds containing trash. The limitation is row spacing, which must be sufficient for the trash wheels to fit. The trials were conducted using 50cm rows, allowing plenty of room.

We are calculating the minimum row width by including the trash wheels. Depending on the machine’s specifications, you can contact us directly for an exact minimum row width.

The kit can be fitted to any new X Series machine and retrofitted to Star and Star Plus models. However, it may need a headstock extension to accommodate the trash-clearing wheels.

If you are interested in finding out more and you are based in the UK, please get in touch with our direct sales manager. For international customers, please contact your local Stanhay dealer.

Late ploughed heavy land using a power harrow