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Cutting It Fine: The Benefits of Investing In Your Residues

By K-Line Ag
Published on

Invest in your stubble residue to increase the texture, organic matter and moisture retention of your soil. Progressive farmers are proving the benefits of proper stubble management rather than burning off.

The cutting edge Trashcutter® by K-Line Ag is proving a major advantage for farmers and has the answer for your stubble handling issues and ground preparation – without any matches!

The even spread vof stubble residue protects from wind erosion

So What Does It Do?

The advanced design of the Trashcutter® (patented in Australia and Internationally) lays the stubble sideways with a lay-bar system, ahead of coulters spaced at 130mm apart, leaving an even layer of cut straw on the surface of your paddock. The cutting action of the coulters is controlled hydraulically with little disturbance to your root system. This is key to preventing stubble blowing away, which is important for ease of seeding. There is virtually no soil disturbance when set in the main operating position – a real advantage for soil erosion problems and for those of you who like to minimize tillage wherever possible!

How Can It Benefit Me?

Ideal for long straw, it allows you to lift your header front to take less straw and harvest your crop faster and more efficiently.

Lower operating costs and speed of operation are key advantages of this machine e.g. an 18m Trashcutter® can cover up to 27 ha/hr. Some operators may even choose to run the machine twice in a season to speed up the breakdown process, without incorporating straw into the soil profile.

Prior to sowing, the Trashcutter® can be used for melons, clovers, medics, and other viney weeds and is excellent in higher rainfall areas where snail control is an issue.

It can also be adjusted to give minimal soil disturbance. The coulter system can be angled up to 5 degrees, which can be a real advantage where shallow tillage is required for lime and chemical incorporation, as well as some weed control.

The Trashcutter® system has been extensively developed by K-Line Ag in conjunction with agronomists & farmers requiring a better system for stubble management and is a great tool for minimum to no-till farming situations.

Read more on the Trashcutter®

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Don’t Leave Your Yields Out in the Cold

By K-Line Ag
Published on

Cold season in Australia means the susceptibility of paddocks to encounter frost events increases. While frost potential in the southern half of the country and in Tasmania can extend to cover over 150 days per year according to some government models , the reality of frost events is more nuanced than a simple map’s predictions.

Frost events are highly localised and vary dramatically. While temperature is a factor, frost is also dependent upon topography, with low-lying areas called frost pockets or frost hollows being more prone to frost events. The likelihood of frost is also based upon non-temperature-related factors like cloud cover, humidity and surface winds. Clear skies, high humidity and still winds are the perfect conditions for a frost event, but vary even one of those factors and even low-lying areas could avoid frosts. The resultant frost damage has long-term implications, particularly for yields on wheat and cereal crops during the next growing season.

Since managing ambient environmental factors is outside of the control of farmers and crop producers, avoiding frost damage to paddocks is usually limited to mechanical means – tarps, sprinkler systems, and other interventions – and even those are difficult to enact over large areas. But government and university research suggests that stubble management can have far-reaching impacts for plant growth and crop yields in growing seasons to come.

Heavy stubbles, especially stubbles from pulses with excess vegetation like those from the 2020 growing season, can have an adverse reaction on the ground’s ability to fight off frost events via ambient ground and moisture controls, even into subsequent growing seasons. Soil serves as “heat sink” or “heat bank,” absorbing radiant heat – or longwave solar radiation, in scientific terms – from the sun and moderating to air temperatures during the day and releasing that latent heat during the evening/non-sun hours. This rising warm air forms an important barrier between surface crops and the cooler air descending from the atmosphere.

Thick, heavy stubble impedes the soil’s ability to absorb radiant and ambient heat. Since stubbles are “dead” carbon (as opposed to soil’s “living” environment of microorganisms) sitting on top of the soil profile rather than integrated into it, they act as shade, blocking sun, reducing the amount of heat the soil can absorb, and trapping too much moisture due to lack of evaporation. In the hot months, moisture evaporation can be a concern, but during cooler months with frost potential, trapped moisture and cooler air create greater potential for issues. The cooler temps exacerbated by high-stubble paddocks mean slower development of plant biomass, delayed flowering, slower or reduced tillering, and less well-developed heads.

Managing frost potential with past-season stubbles is largely a matter of re-sizing and integrating the stubbles into the soil as residues with mechanical interventions like the K-Line Ag Trashcutter® or the multi-tillage and integration tool, Speedtiller®. Doing so allows the stubbles-turned-residues to provide “best of both worlds” benefits – better soil quality and erosion control due to the presence of organic matter, and better heat sinking and moisture evaporation qualities due to more exposed soil.

While environmental factors like frost are an unavoidable aspect of topography and the vagaries and capriciousness of weather, managing stubble loads can make a frost event less impactful for future yields.

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Think about your stubble management in 2022

By K-Line Ag
Published on
  • the extent of the stubble load from last year’s crop,
  • the type of the crop,
  • soil conditions,
  • weed and fertiliser management,
  • seasonal conditions.

Each of these factors will change from year to year, so different conditions call for different management strategies.

Stubble retention in a cropping system offers the potential to increase microbial activity, improve soil stability and structure, retain soil moisture and increase soil carbon levels. But unless your stubble is handled correctly, the advantages available from retaining stubble can easily be lost.

A new tool to add to your management arsenal can make your decisions easier.

Trashcutter®: A breakthrough in stubble management

The K-Line Trashcutter® is a new machine that has been developed by K-Line Agriculture, working extensively with agronomists and farmers to develop a better system for stubble management.

Traditional mulching leaves stubble lying on the surface of the ground, making the soil prone to wind erosion, especially in lighter soils. The Trashcutter® allows the stubble crown to remain in the soil as an ‘anchor’, minimising wind and water erosion. This is achieved by the advanced design of the Trashcutter® which lays the stubble to one side and then slices the stubble with self-sharpening discs into short lengths.

Stubble and residue is left evenly spread over the ground surface, making the work of trash flow through the seed drill so much more efficient. ‘Hair-pinning’ is minimised with the Trashcutter®.

How the Trashcutter® system works

A unique feature of the Trashcutter® is its adjustable disc angle and down pressure, which can be altered to take into account the state of the stubble and soil conditions.

With the Trashcutter®, you now have complete control over how much soil disturbance is needed, for example in zero-till operations; how finely the stubble is cut; and how much tillage may be needed for chemical incorporation and light weed control.

The beauty of the machine is that you have complete control of the operation via the adjustable disc angle and on-the-run adjustment of the down pressure of the machine, which controls the cutting action.

The Trashcutter® operates in a fast and efficient manner, at low horsepower, evenly distributing trash, which makes control of seeding depth and placement so much easier. Added features are its ability to handle rough and undulating ground and its narrow transport width.

Crop residue can act as a physical barrier to wind and water erosion. Residue is most effective when it is both lying on the soil surface and anchored to the ground. The more stubble can be retained, the more soil moisture can be conserved and less lost to evaporation over summer. Wind and water erosion can be minimised and soil microbial activity, in time, can be increased, as can soil carbon capture.

Managing stubble is a key feature of conservation farming. And the critical element of effective management is an ability to adjust to the variety of factors thrown up by different seasonal conditions. Having a machine as adaptable and efficient as the K-Line Ag Trashcutter® has made the job of managing stubble a whole lot easier.


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