Sky brings a gentle touch to minimal cultivation

Ultra shallow cultivation is presently gaining plenty of attention from both farmers and machinery manufacturers in the tillage world.

Sky brings a gentle touch to minimal cultivation

Sky brings a gentle touch to minimal cultivation

The latest company to join the movement is Sky Agriculture of France, sister company to Sulky, both brands being owned by the Burel family.

Depthless cultivation

At this year’s SIMA event, the company unveiled its latest machine to complement its min-till and direct drilling drills, the two implements it has focused on developing and perfecting over the past few years.

SIMA is an international exhibition of technologies and solutions for efficient and sustainable agriculture and took place in Paris, France last week (November 6-10).

Cultivation shallow sky
Described as a scalping frame rather than cultivator, the Methys PCS is designed to work the top few centimetres of soil only

Carrying on with the ethos of removing the plough from the tillage equation, it launched the Methys PCS, a cultivator it describes as a scalping screen rather than a tine harrow.

However, the implement is actually a form of spring tine harrow with the tines being designed to run at a depth of 40-50mm.

Scalp, not dig

The tine tips are of a broad ‘A’ pattern which can run as shallow as just 20mm if need be, or even possible on uneven stubble ground.

Methys farmec cultivation
The shallow tines act to cut separate the stalks from the roots in cover crops

The purpose of the machine is not to just encourage the germination of weed seeds, but to also slice through the root systems of growing plants, including those of cover crops.

Bearing in mind that the tines do not incorporate the residue, they are well spaced to minimise the opportunity of stalks blocking the frame as it passes through the crop. Hence the reference to a screen rather than harrow.

Cultivation without consolidation

The weight of the frame is taken by a series of wheels rather than resting on the tines themselves, soil penetration is not the ultimate aim of the tool so the working tips are carried above the soil rather than pushed into it.

Cultivation Farmec Sky
At least one tine runs behind each wheel to ensure all the ground is left unconsolidated

There is also a tine placed behind each wheel so no part of the soil is left consolidated. Indeed, there are no roller attachments available as the aim is to leave an open surface that encourages chitting and decomposition.

As yet, there are no immediate plans to bring the implement into Ireland for next season, although developments in tillage methods may well see it arriving if the demand is perceived to be there.

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