The misalignment of the passages of the potato planter and comb former is a problem that almost every potato grower faces. What does it lead to and how to solve it?
Sergey Ariskin, Chief Process Engineer, Agrotrade Company LLC
PROBLEM AND CONSEQUENCES
The most difficult case is throwing tubers from the ridge. After the passage of the combing machine, part of the tubers is thrown out of the comb. The result of this is naturally omissions and crop shortages. The uterine tuber remains in the ridge, but is located near the lateral surface of the ridge. Due to this, a plant developing from a tuber does not realize its potential for yield. Subsequently, part of the tubers protrudes from the ridge and turns green. This part of the harvest can no longer be attributed to the category of marketable potatoes. If the offset relative to the center is significant, then it is highly likely that during harvesting part of the tubers will be cut by the cutting discs of the combine.
There are several reasons for which misalignment appears after combing. The problem can be caused by a difficult terrain, technological features, insufficient qualifications of machine operators. Consider each possible option in more detail.
1. Landing on the slopes inevitably leads to the demolition of both the potato planter and the comb former. The greater the difference in the mass of the tractor and potato planter, the more pronounced the drift. A skidding tractor will necessarily deviate from rectilinear motion.
2. Misalignment of the direction of plowing and pre-planting treatment with the direction of planting also leads to the demolition of the potato planter. Poor plowing with a large number of broken furrows and stump ridges exacerbates this problem. Poor plowing with a large number of broken furrows and stump ridges exacerbates this problem. Not in all cases it is possible to plant strictly in the direction of plowing. Recommended landing direction: north to south. However, it is not always possible to plow this way due to the direction of the slope. Plowing along the slope leads to soil washing away during the spring melting of snow.
3. The qualification of the machine operator is one of the significant factors. It is often the main cause of lateral tubers. Ridging errors superimposed on landing errors lead to disastrous results.
And what to do?
It is possible to partially avoid the misalignment problem. Carefully planned direction of movement, correctly selected composition of the unit, skilled machine operators - all this significantly reduces the likelihood of the tuber being not on the row axis. But does not exclude her.
Practitioners use other methods.
I had to see, for example, an original solution in a situation with the ejection of seeds from a row: the extreme teeth were simply removed from the milling drum of the comb former. The working width between the rows became smaller, and the tubers remained in place. But at the same time it was impossible to form a full-fledged ridge.
The way to get rid of the problem, leading to a decrease in productivity and a large number of soil lumps during harvesting, should still be attributed to the category of “firefighters” and used only in exceptional cases.
Moreover, there are other options. Perhaps the most effective (albeit the most expensive) is the use of GPS navigation both during landing and during cutting of ridges. The standard GPS signal does not provide the required accuracy, it is necessary to use base stations and GPS receivers in RTK mode. This paid service provides accuracy of up to 2,5 cm, which is quite enough. In addition, re-equipment and retrofitting of both tractors and agricultural machines will be required.
In this case, the Grimme GL or GB trailed potato planter must be equipped with a thruster.
There are two options:
- Equipped potato planter with steered running wheels. In this case, when ordering a new machine, it is supplemented by its own electro-hydraulic distributor and controller. Through the spare parts department, only the mechanical part and hydraulic cylinders can be installed. Management will be through the valve body, which is included with the GPS system.
- Equipment of a planter with a special drawbar with a hydraulic cylinder. This is a cheaper option, requiring altering the planter. Such modernization is carried out by companies involved in equipping units with GPS-systems.
Also, a bow thruster is mounted on the comb former. Two options are also possible here:
- Installation on the Grimme GF Series combing machine for automatic lateral displacement.
In this case, it is necessary to dismantle the sensors, and connect the hydraulic control system to the control kit with the GPS system.
2. Installing special thrusters.
This system is manufactured and delivered by suppliers involved in equipping the units with GPS systems.
In our opinion, the system offered by the GRIMME plant is simpler and more efficient. Disks in different parts of the field, depending on the density of the soil, have different adhesion, and therefore, it is possible that in some cases the alignment of the passage of the planter and cutter may be impaired. In addition, this system creates additional loads on the body of the combing machine, not designed for this. The GRIMME system moves the tillage machine relative to the tractor through a frame that is more durable than the hull.
Well, it is obvious that a simpler system with one bearing hydraulic cylinder is not only more reliable, but has a lower cost.
One of the most economical and simplest options is to use only the GRIMME thruster system when forming ridges. Landing is carried out either using a simple GPS parallel driving system, or without it at all. When cutting ridges, the sensors of the automatic driving system on the comb generator move along the grooves formed by the potato planter shorting. This system can be installed on existing GRIMME GF comb formers.
The hinged device available on the milling cutter is dismantled and a hydraulic cylinder is installed in its place, the rod of which acts as the fingers of the hinged device.
When properly configured, this system shows very good results. The number of greened tubers sharply decreases. During harvesting, especially with side digging combines, there are practically no tubers damaged by the wheel systems. An important factor - fatigue of machine operators is significantly reduced.
The Agrotrade service department has reequipped several GF combing machines in different farms.
EXPERIENCE OF USE
Anatoly Yalin, Head of LLC "F / X Yalina AP"
- This year, we re-equipped the GRIMME combing machine GF series, equipped it with a steering system, and this has become a great help for our economy. Prior to this, the problem was very acute: the fields on the farm have a complex terrain, and not all employees are highly qualified. As a result, part of the potato bushes grew in the lateral places of the ridges, the tubers often appeared on the surface and turned green. We lost in the crop.
Now we note that the steering system has facilitated the work of the tractor driver, and the quality of the hilling has improved. The comber is now clearly centered; the potato does not move during processing. There is a result!
Vadim Golov, Head of the farm, Golov Vadim Nikolaevich
- If everything is properly built and adjusted, the converted ridge former works perfectly. Before the introduction of this system, we always had potatoes in our side. Now the machine operators really like to work.