Every business sector is feeling the pinch these days. Agriculture is no different. It’s therefore helpful to understand how resource savings and efficiencies can make a huge difference to operational overheads and yield performance.
Spearhead Machinery developed the Starcut Blade System over ten years ago which afforded the company an Agritechnica silver medal for innovation. The aim was to create a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly approach towards the management of crop stubble residue and cover crops.
Less fuel, faster cutting
Giving precise pulverisation, whilst requiring lower tractor power than competitive fixed knife designs, Starcut delivers ultimate efficiency and performance. This reduces fuel consumption and increases forward speed.
Two cutting heights
The Starcut Blade System cuts the stubble at two different heights, delivering a minimum of nine cuts per rotation.
The first row of blades incorporates Spearhead’s coveted high updraught lift system. It provides maximum suction to lift the material into the cutting zone whilst contributing towards mixing soil and dust with the mulched residue. This accelerates decomposition.
A second, longer row of blades in a higher plane, is dual-edged and flat. The batter and mulch the material under the smooth, flat deck to provide an unrivalled chop length.
Starcut’s mulching performance helps micro-organisms to flourish, releasing important nutrients back into the soil. It’s also less likely fungus and diseases will carry over, contributing to higher yields in the following season.
Stubble management principles
Coupled with its machinery development, Spearhead worked closely with European farmers and internationally acclaimed universities to develop the Stubble Management Principles. This provides farmers with a concise list of benefits from introducing effective stubble management as an important aspect of their harvest regime.
Faster harvest – complete your combining faster by raising the header, mulching instead with the mower outside of the pressured harvest window. You will safely store your crops faster too, away from the elements and ahead of any potential breaks in the weather.
Long stubble after the combine – You can increase the capacity of the combine by around 20% when you raise the header by just 10cm. In years when there is increased rainfall, this can provide a distinct output benefit.
Working hours and diesel use – The Starcut blade system is highly regarded for its pulverisation and distribution of the chopped material. With a forward speed of approximately 15km per hour, you can effectively cover ground much faster during your harvest.
Even when adding a secondary process of tractor and mower, you still dramatically reduce diesel consumption by turning off the combine chopper.
Faster decomposition – Mixing chopped stubble with dust and soil accelerates decomposition. Micro-organisms flourish prompting a controlled release of nutrients from the decaying organic material. This in turn reduces fungus and disease transfer and benefits the structure of your soil.
Residue distribution – As combines get bigger, it can be difficult to distribute processed straw across the full header width, especially in windy conditions. Running the Flex Wing mower diagonally across the ground chops and mulches leftover material closer to the soil and across the full width of the machine.
Pests and insects – Stubble management has successfully managed pests including the “Death Watch Beetle” – one of the world’s most common crop destroying insects. By chopping across and flaring the lower stalk of the plant in a maize crop, the beetle’s habitat is destroyed.
Waste seed activation – Stubble management is especially effective in rapeseed as it activates waste seeds. The chopped stubble forms a productive carpet and retains the exact moisture required for spilt rapeseeds to become active. This helps crop development in the following year.
Grass seed management – Traditionally, Spearhead Flex Wing mowers have been used to manage grass seed fields. Using the Starcut Blade System, you can now cut even closer to the ground creating a better mulch than ever before.